Wills and Trusts Laurel Brown

Willls & Trusts

​What happens if you don’t have a will and or trust you don’t make one before you die?

If you pass away without a will the state in which you reside will decide how your estate is divided up. This includes any bank accounts, real estate and any other assets you owned. Even the most basic will is an important document to have in the event of an untimely passing. It not only gives you full control over who and how your assets get split up it also protects your family from having the state get involved in your affairs during a distressing time. If you wait to make a will until the last minute you may find yourself rushing through something or being unable to find someone that can assist you.

Dealing with and thinking about end of life plans such as wills and trusts can be a distressing topic. However, if you wait until you receive a potentially terminal diagnosis or have a life threatening accident it will be worse to have to deal with a will and trust and your medical situation. If you deal with a severe accident that leaves you mentally incapacitated until your death you will have the chance to get a will in place.  You want to protect your family so that they are able to gain access to all of the assets you wish them to have, that’s why planning ahead is important and will save a lot time and money for your loved ones. Wills are a good foundation to establish your last wishes but they can still be contested if not properly documented and it may need to be verified as a legal document. This may be the case if someone wrote and left it in their safe for twenty years and it is discovered while going through items left behind.

A will can go hand and hand with a trust and creating them together can be beneficial.

Wills goes into effect after you die and trusts takes effect as soon as you create them. A will directs who will receive your property at your death and appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. It also appoints a guardian for your children. If you do not, your family will have to go to court and have guardianship appointed. This may not be who you would have entrusted your children to. you do have the option of not utilizing legal counsel for your will and trust but if your plans for transfer of your assets are not clearly laid out your family could spend months sorting it out in probate court and many issues may arise that could have been missed. It is always recommended to have a legal professional help set up and maintain your wills and trusts.

A Living revocable trust has many functions and can be a great legal safeguard to establish a supplemental needs trust for your spouse, disabled children or loved ones. It can also ensure that continuity of government benefits to surviving spouses or children continue after your death. A living trust offers more control of your assets and does need to be actively managed but for many people it is a good option as you age. It takes effect while the property owner is still alive, is revocable and may be changed while the trustor is still alive. The trustor maintains the ownership of the property and it becomes operational upon the trustor’s death. If you own additional real estate outside of your resident state it can save on additional costs to properly transfer the assets. Unlike a will a living trust will transfer property out of probate court and will be immediately and directly passed to your named beneficiaries.

Sometimes we may plan ahead and think we have all of the proper documents in place to handle passing down our legacy to the next generation but a will can always be contested in court no matter how many safeguards we have in place. Unfortunately, we cannot control how others will feel after we are gone and how they will react to our choices. However, the more you have documented and legalized while you are still here gives more validity to your wishes in court and probate could take only a matter of weeks if came to it instead of months and in some cases years before your estate can pass into the proper hands of your beneficiaries.

We understand it can take time and a mental toll on you while you process through all of the decisions you will need to make while putting together a will and possibly a living trust. That’s what we are here, to help lighten the burden and create a plan that’s right for you and your family. We can actively maintain your living revocable trust and make changes as needed. Our services also extend to the executer of your of estate and represent your estate in probate if necessary.

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Laurel Brown, Attorney