It’s estimated that approximately 50 percent of American adults do not currently have a will in place. Without a will or a trust in place, your personal belongings and assets will most likely not be divided the way that you would prefer. In fact, parents of minor children who die without a will could put their kids into the unfortunate position of being raised by a family member not of their choosing, or even placed in foster care. Therefore, we highly encourage everyone to take proactive steps as soon as possible to protect their family.
What Exactly is a Will?
A will provides you with the opportunity to legally name a guardian for your children and to designate which specific people will inherit your assets after you pass away. Unfortunately, if you die without a valid will in place, the state will be put in charge of deciding how all of your assets will be divided. Additionally, it is important to note that your will needs to be properly constructed so that it can stand up to legal scrutiny when it goes through probate.
What is the Purpose of the Probate Process?
Probate is utilized to ensure that each will is valid, and it also includes paying off debt, appraising property and creating an inventory of the deceased individual’s assets. Due to this, it is best to work with an attorney who has experience writing wills. Keep in mind that the importance of creating a will becomes more pronounced every year, but no legal adult should ever let themselves fall into the trap of believing that they are too young to need one.
Simple Versus Complex Wills
You have the option to choose a simple or complex will depending on your age and certain specific life circumstances. For example, if you only have a few assets and do not have any children that came from a previous marriage, you could be a good candidate for a simple will. On the other hand, if you have a lot of assets, have a previous spouse, own your own business or want to create a trust for your children, a more complex will might be appropriate. Fortunately, we have the necessary experience to help you determine which option makes the most sense for your life.
What is a Trust?
As previously mentioned, a will must go through probate court, and it is also subject to public scrutiny and taxes. If you wish to avoid these factors, you can create a trust to protect your property. Essentially, a trust is a separate legal entity, and you can choose between various types. We can explain your trust options to help ensure that you select the right type of trust for your property. Taking this legal step could be extremely beneficial in several different scenarios. We are happy to discuss your specific situation and make the appropriate recommendations.
If you have questions related to wills, trusts or the probate process, contact us for a no-obligation consultation at 216-661-9740.