An estate plan refers not only to a document such as a will or trust, it is a comprehensive plan which may include a number of other documents, each of which will accomplish different objectives to meet the ultimate needs of the individual and his/her beneficiaries.
A will is what is called a “testamentary document. This means that it has no effect while you are alive, but if written correctly, it becomes a valid, binding legal document after you pass away. Many people believe if you have a will, you will avoid Probate, but this is not true. Only the Probate Court can legally and finally interpret a will. Wills must be written in a specific way or they will not be honored by the Probate Court. You need the assistance of an attorney for the will and changes to the will so there is no determination that the person passed away without a will, and the estate will not be probated the way the person thought it would. The will is the place to name the guardian for our minor children.
A trust is an alternative way of providing for your care while you are alive, and for the transfer of assets after you are gone. A revocable living trust is a document that takes effect while you are alive. It plans for when you are sick and also for after you have passed away. You can continue to modify it as your life changes to accomplish your goals. It avoids the expense and complications of probate. It all unfolds in private and confidentially in the attorney office.
Guardianships and conservatorships allow you to create a legal framework under which a third party provides for the care and supervision of a child’s or incapacitated adult’s affairs.
Probate is the process by which a Court disposes of a person’s property upon their death or incapacity. Probate becomes necessary when a person dies and owns property in their individual name, without a trust joint ownership, or beneficiary designation. The actual process can be quite tedious and costly, depending upon many different factors, such as: whether the decedent had a properly executed will; how many beneficiaries or heirs the decedent had and whether they can be easily located, whether the estate plan is “fair” and all of the heirs generally get along, and the size of the estate and type of property owned. In most instances, the assistance of an attorney is required.
Melanie G Moffat LLC law firm handles: