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The Will

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Family, inheritance, and keeping the peace

Family conflicts are always hard, and when inheritance issues are a factor, emotions can get out of hand, fast. But, there are a few things to keep in mind that can help your family navigate these challenges. Above all, remember that stuff is just stuff.

Which will: What to do if your loved one left multiple wills

When there is more than one will, the last-dated one takes precedence, assuming your loved one created it in a valid way and was of sound mind when they did so. Proving otherwise can be very difficult, however.

What is a holographic will?

Occasionally, a will is completely handwritten without the help of a lawyer and is not officially witnessed. This is also known as a holographic will, and it can be valid in some states and some circumstances.

Whether or not your loved one left a will, you will need to make sure their property is passed on to the right people. With a will, inheritance will follow your loved one’s wishes; without it, state law will decide. Either way, following these rules will ensure that your loved one’s life and legacy are properly honored.

No matter what you’re dealing with, we have the knowledge you need right now.

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Loss is hard. Its vocabulary shouldn’t be.

We speak the specialized language of estates and funerals, so you don’t have to.


The person appointed by the court to handle the estate of someone who dies without a will.

The duties of an administrator are similar to those of an executor, but as there is no will to execute, he or she is named administrator and distributes assets according to a procedure dictated by state law.


The sum total of someone’s net worth, including all assets. From a legal standpoint, an estate is not simply everything the person owns, but the value of all of these assets minus any debts or other liabilities. Estates are calculated differently depending on their purpose.
For example, the taxable estate may include assets that are not in the probate estate.


A service held to commemorate someone’s life. Memorials are generally considered distinct from funerals in that they are held without the body present and are not focused on the burial, although services where the urn with the loved one’s ashes is present are also called memorials. Traditionally, a funeral is a more formal service while memorials are often more unstructured.

To see the full glossary