The most common misconception made by potential clients when asked if they have a will is to think that they don't have a lot of assets, therefore they don't need a will. If you own a home, a car, a boat or any property that requires a title, then a will is the best and most efficient way to ensure that someone you trust is in charge of transferring your property to the beneficiary of your choice.
When a person dies without a will (intestate), the process of transferring your property becomes much more costly and difficult. Without a properly executed will it may be necessary for your heirs to go through a court process called a determination of heirship. A determination of heirship involves not only the cost of hiring an attorney to file the application to determine heirship, but also the cost of an attorney appointed by the court.
I don't have a lot of assets, do I really need a will?
A trust can be a very valuable tool, when estate planning. There are essentially two widely used trusts in estate planning 1)an inter vivos trust 2)a contingent beneficiary trust.
An inter vivos trust/living trust is funded during the creator/settlor's life. The funding of an inter vivos trust is typically done by titling vehicles in the name of the trust and deeding all real property into the name of the trust. The settlor of an inter vivos trust is typically also the first beneficiary of the trust and may revoke of modify the trust within their lifetime.
The second type of trust that is commonly used in estate planning is referred to as a contingent beneficiary trust. This type of trust is created in a will primarily for beneficiaries that are under the age of 18. This trust is also often used to hold inheritance in trust for beneficiaries that have reached the age of 18, but the testator feels that they should not fully inherit until they reach a different age, such as 21 or 25.
If you are interested in finding out more feel free to contact our office for a consultation.
How can I avoid the probate process? What if my children are minors or not mature enough to handle an inheritance?