The Will and Trust
A proper Will and Trust should be in place. They can not be done after the need has occurred.
Your assets will guide you as to how much you need in the way of legal services to protect and pass your estate.
The main concern is to avoid PROBATE.
If you were to pass away without so much as a will, called INTESTATE, your estate will go to probate court. In probate the disposition of your assets will be decided by the state rules, not your wishes. If your assets are quite small, the court process should be quick and not cost too much. But still, more than it would cost to have a will prepared. A will does direct someone you chose to take care of what is remaining in your estate, such as Taxes, bills, transfer of home and personal possessions etc.
A Will goes into effect upon one’s death. They are contestable. Contents are public records.
A Trust is private. Effective when incompetence or death is present. Totally avoid probate, incontestable.
Reading Newspaper ad’s you may get the impression that you must have a Trust. The answer is maybe. If you have significant assets, it is advisable to have one. A will is good within the state of residence. Often it will be recognized by other states. A Trust goes across state lines without questions. An added level of security for you.
If you own property in more than one state, a sizable amount of assets or other personal concerns for your assets, then a trust would be recommended. An attorney that does Estate work, would be recommended. If your attorney is not competent with Trust’s, select another.
Once a trust goes into effect at your death or incompetence. AND it’s wrong or not updated – your trustee can not make any changes. Unless it’s something as egregious as when Anna Nicole Smith married a 80+ man. A trust cannot be modified by the court system. That is why you need a good attorney to draft the trust for you.
Powers of Attorney
All Power of Attorney’s will stop at your passing. Replaced by the will or trust. The common Power of Attorney used for something such as selling a car is not what you need for your protection. That POA will stop at one’s incompetence, because of health or other reasons and including death.
A DPOA, Durable Power of Attorney.
The DPOA is drafted by your attorney at the same time they do your will. This allows your designee to “Step into your shoes” to perform as you would, at your time of incompetence. That could be for either Financial, Physical or Mental reasons. The DPOA’s will be for your Financial interests and your Health concerns. It is very important that you have this done.
I cannot stress enough that you have your legal matters in place.
You can accomplish so much in just one day to set up and organize your estate of any size.
The other option is to do nothing.
Which can take an untold amount of time to resolve and possibly tear apart families.
If you have any question, please feel free to contact me.
We are neither Attorney’s or Accountants. Consult your Attorney or Accountants for specific advice.