Wills and Trusts
Wills and Trusts are the fundamental backbone of most estate plans. A Last Will and Testament allows a client to control who will administer their Probate Assets when they are deceased. Please refer to the Estate Planning page for a more thorough description of Probate and non Probate assets. Most importantly for parents of minor children, a Last Will appoints a guardian to care for their children in the event that both parents are deceased. Most parents of minor children also need to put in place a testamentary trust to provide that their children do not inherit assets upon attaining the age of eighteen (18). Clients are in agreement that most eighteen year olds do not have the maturity to handle even a modest amount of assets.
The most common form of Trust is a Living Trust or Revocable Trust which combines the lifetime protection against incapacity that a durable financial power of attorney provides with the post death control of a Last Will. The Living Trust is a revocable, flexible document that provides maximum control to the client with the most efficient control of assets upon their death or disability. As stated in the Estate Planning page of our website, the assets inside a Living Trust are non Probate assets and may be managed by a successor Trustee within a day or two of the death of the creator of the trust, as opposed to a matter of weeks or months with a Probate proceeding.
Following are some of the benefits of a Living Trust:
- Avoid Probate Guardianship proceeding during your lifetime in the event of incapacity
- Consolidation of assets under one instrument.
- Privacy not provided by a Last Will.
- Flexibility of being able to amend or revoke at any time.
- Efficient distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
- Assets remain in trust until the time you select for distribution to beneficiaries
- Reduction or even elimination of state and federal estate tax