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What should a basic will include?

Even the poorest person who barely has any personal assets can benefit from drafting and signing a will -- or at the very least -- the individual's surviving close family members will benefit. If you've decided to complete your will, here are the various clauses a basic will should include.

Funeral expenses and debt payments: This clause should allow your executor to pay for funerary expenses, hospital costs and court costs from the estate while protecting your estate from unenforceable debts.

Money and personal property: In this section, you will indicate who shall receive your personal property and how it shall be divided among them.

Real estate: In this section, you will indicate who will receive your real estate property and/or how it shall be divided among your heirs.

Residuary clause: This section usually includes the following language to cover the distribution of any assets that were inadvertently left out of the will: "I give all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate to..."

Taxes: You will need to include a section of the will to give the executors the direction to pay all taxes that may be due upon your death.

Minors: This section addresses how assets shall be distributed to minors who are not, as of yet, old enough to own assets in and of their own right. Often the assets will be conferred to a guardian or parent or held until the minor has reached the age of majority.

Fiduciaries: In the fiduciaries clause, you will appoint the person to serve as your executor. You should also appoint at least two successor co-executors who will take over the responsibility should your primary executor not be able or willing.

Simultaneous death clause: In this section, the will covers what should happen in the case that the primary beneficiary, such as the spouse, dies at the same time or closely thereafter. It prevents the potential for complicated and time-consuming probate proceedings in such an unlikely event.

Guardian: This section indicates who shall serve as the guardians of your minor children in the event of your death. For many parents, this clause is the primary reason why they get in gear to draft their estate plans in the first place.

This is a general overview of what a basic will should include. However, every person's situation -- and every person's estate -- is unique, so Florida estate planners may want to take the time to learn how best to appropriately and lawfully draft a will in light of their particular circumstances.

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