There are a plethora of details to attend to when you are planning your estate if you want to be comprehensively and effectively prepared. Simply looking for the easy way out is a recipe for disaster.
Speaking of easy ways out that can yield disastrous results, you would do well to take pause before trying to construct a last will using an online tool. Experts have weighed in on the subject, and unintended consequences can result when you try to go this route.
Additionally, as a layperson are you sure you want to arrange for the transfer of your assets through the utilization of a last will? There are some pitfalls to consider.
Last Will: Not as Simple as You Think
Because a last will is something everyone has heard of, you may think that this document will enable the simplest possible transfer of assets to your loved ones. This is not entirely true.
Unless you have very limited resources, your estate must go through the full probate process. This process takes place under the supervision of the probate court.
You choose an executor when you draw up your last will. This representative handles the estate administration duties.
If someone wanted to challenge the will, he or she could present his or her arguments before the probate court. Creditors and claimants could also step forward seeking satisfaction during probate.
While the estate is being probated, the executor may have property appraised and liquidated. Final taxes must be paid, and this can require the services of an accountant. A probate lawyer is generally engaged as well.
All of these professionals cost money, and all of the tasks involved take time. In the end, an estate can be stuck in probate for months or even years.
Alternative to Last Will
You can select an alternative to a last will that will facilitate asset transfers outside of probate. One very popular choice is the revocable living trust.
With a revocable living trust, your beneficiaries will receive their inheritances in a more timely manner outside of probate. However, living trusts are not a cure-all.
Basic revocable living trusts don’t provide asset protection. And, resources that have been conveyed into the trust are indeed subject to the estate tax.
However, there are a number of other types of trusts that do in fact provide asset protection and/or estate tax efficiency.
Preparing for Future Incapacity
Addressing what will happen after you pass away is one thing, but what about your final days? You may become incapacitated late in your life.
Because of this you should select decision-makers using durable powers of attorney. In addition, a complete estate plan would include a living will. In this document you state your choices regarding the use of ventilators, artificial hydration and nutrition, and other types of life sustaining measures.
Attend a Free Living Trust Seminar
Take time to educate yourself on your estate planning options to assure that you create the right estate plan for you and your loved ones. Our law firm regularly offers free living trust seminars. To view a schedule of our upcoming seminars, and to reserve your seat(s), follow this link: Free Living Trust Seminars Link
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