Your Will ensures that your wishes are fulfilled.
The first part of any plans for you and your family is a Will. Everyone should have a Will. With the help of an experienced Will attorney, you can be confident your wishes will be honored and your assets will be distributed to your heirs you have directed.
If you die without a Will, state law through its court system determines who gets your assets. The needs and desires of your family may not be a part of the court’s considerations in deciding who gets what. A Will can prevent this from happening and make certain your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
There is no single solution or format to a Will. A properly drawn Will depends on your specific wishes, circumstances, problems and opportunities.
Trusts go further than your Will to address specific issues when you want to make certain your family enjoys the maximum benefits of what you have worked hard to provide them. A trust is a separate legal entity for holding property. One or more persons (the “trustee”) holds property for the benefit of another or several other people (the “beneficiary”). The person who creates the trust is known as the grantor. The trustee holds legal title and is responsible for managing, investing and distributing the assets or property of the trust.
There is a common misconception that trusts are only for the wealthy. Nothing can be further from the truth. Many families can benefit from trusts. Most well known is the advantage of avoiding probate. That is, in a trust that terminates with the death of the grantor, any property in the trust prior to the grantor’s death passes immediately to the beneficiaries by the terms of the trust without requiring probate. This can save time and money for the beneficiaries.
In broad terms, the following list gives you an idea of what may be accomplished with trusts as part of an overall estate plan: