We all want to insure that our families are well cared for when we pass away. The most responsible way of insuring this is to be sure that you have a well-written and legal will.

Younger men do die from prostate cancer and they often have minor children who will continue to require economic support and perhaps guardians. Even older men with grown children may also need to appoint trustees of family trusts. Many of us also have spouses who will require that we pass adequate wealth on to them so they may continue to live in their current life style.

A well written will should protect your estate from being liable for unnecessary taxes. An improperly worded will can bring aggravation, extra cost and turmoil to your family.

Surprisingly the number of Americans who die without wills is estimated to be as high as 70%. Many people who do have wills have set them up improperly… allowed them to become outdated… have even forgotten exactly what they say.

Make sure that you don’t fall prey to the following common mistakes…

Not having a will. If you die without a will, you die “intestate” and your assets will be distributed under state law. Each state has a different set of laws governing intestate estates. You should assume that your state’s intestacy law will not produce the results you would like.

May people mistakenly believe that assets will bypass probate (the legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of a decedent’s property) if you die without a will, but that’s not true. There are many ways to avoid probate, but failing to execute a will is not among them.

A will by itself will probably be inadequate to insure you are able to preserve your assets and get everything accomplished that you wish. Probate can be costly and assets that pass to your heirs through your will must go through probate. Probate can create large legal fees, and if the will is contested there will be additional