Unfortunately, many people put off getting a will and planning their estate. Obtaining a will may seem pretty complicated and perhaps something else to add to an endless to-do-list. But even if your only major possession is your house, you still NEED a will as it could take years for the courts to determine who gets it after you pass. If you have children, please get one right now. A will details exactly where your children will live in case you die. Do you really want to leave that up to a judge?
A will dictates what happens to your property and assets and designates a person who will carry out your wishes after your death. A will must go through the probate process, meaning a court oversees the administration of the will to make sure that it is valid and that the assets are distributed the way the deceased intended them to be. Your will is the document that dictates guardianship of minor children in the event of their parent’s deaths.
While most have heard of a will, some may benefit from having a trust instead. A trust goes into effect as soon as it is created, meaning it can provide for your beneficiaries during your life as well as after you pass. It names a trustee to manage the assets that you want to be transferred to a designated beneficiary and specifies the timing of when you want those assets transferred. Trusts are not subject to the probate process, which means the assets can be transferred immediately according to the time frame set up in the trust.
Which Do You Need?
Before creating a will or trust, please consult with an estate planning attorney for direction. As mentioned above, almost every adult with possessions should consider getting a will. If you have a more considerable net worth (more than $250,000), creating a trust might be worth considering. A trust is more expensive to set up than a will, so consult with an estate attorney to help determine which is right for you.
Obtaining a will or trust is something most of us do not look forward to. However, it is important for the protection of your hard-earned assets to accumulate and specify where they will go.
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