Wills and estates are legal concepts that relate to the distribution of assets and property after someone has passed away. A will is a legal document that outlines how a person's assets and property should be distributed after their death. It can also appoint an executor to manage the distribution of assets and specify how debts and taxes should be paid.
An estate, on the other hand, is the total sum of a person's assets and liabilities. When someone dies, their estate becomes a separate legal entity, and it is responsible for paying any outstanding debts, taxes, and distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries.
When a person dies without a will, their estate is subject to the laws of intestacy. In this case, the distribution of assets is determined by the court and may not align with the deceased person's wishes. It's important to have a will in place to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and to avoid any potential conflicts among family members. Some specific tasks that a wills and estate lawyers may handle include drafting wills, creating trusts, probating estates, resolving contested wills, and managing the transfer of property ownership.
In addition to wills, there are other estate planning tools available, such as trusts and powers of attorney, which can help ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your incapacity or death. It's important to consult with an attorney or financial planner to determine the best approach for your individual situation.