Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is, as Martha Stewart would say, a “good thing.” However, many of us don’t take the steps to get that estate plan in place because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either.
Here’s what will generally happen if you die, intestate (without a will or trust), with a will, and with a trust. For this example, we’re assuming you have children, but no spouse:
After that, state law will decide who gets what and when.
Keep in mind that since your death has been published to alert valid creditors, it’s not uncommon for predators (fake creditors) to come forth and make demands for payment – even if they’re not owed anything.
The bottom line? Dying intestate allows state law and the court to make all the decisions on your behalf – regardless of what your intent might have been. Publicity is guaranteed.
The bottom line? While a court oversees the process, having a Will allows you to tell the court exactly how you want your estate to be handled. But, a public probate is still guaranteed.
You’ll have named a trustee to manage your estate with specific instructions on how your assets should be dispersed and when.
You do still need a will to pour any assets inadvertently or intentionally left out of your trust. This is more of a safety-net if your trust is properly funded and it can name guardians for minor children. However, as part of our trust plans, we prepare a set of documents to name financial and custodial guardians for minor children with very detailed and specific instructions for those guardians.
The bottom line? Trusts allow you to maintain control of your assets through your chosen trustee, avoid probate, and leave specific instructions so that your children are taken care of – without receiving a lump sum of money at an age where they are more likely to squander it or have it seized from them.
Don’t let the will versus trust controversy slow you down. Call the office today; we’ll put together an estate plan that works for you and your family whether it be a will, trust, or both but make sure to get it done.
Give us a call at 305-456-7158 and we will schedule an Estate Planning Session for you or you can click Estate Planning Session to request we call you to schedule. Either way, do not wait, be protected and have peace of mind knowing you have the right estate plan.
Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA