How do I begin to make a Will?
The best way to start is to make a list of all the items you currently own. Start with the larger items like Real Estate, Investment Properties, Cars, Boats, Motorcyles, etc. Then work down to smaller items such as furniture, jewelry, art and household possessions.
Do I have to designate a specific recipient for every item?
The best rule of thumb is anything that has a title or a deed associated with ownership should be listed to a designated beneficiary so there is no conflict or delay in transfer of ownership. The smaller items can be left in bulk as in “all art” left to a certain person or specific pieces to specific people.
Are there benefits to a Trust?
A revocable trust (or living trust) is very useful in estate planning because it provides privacy and tax benefits to your estate. The trust acts like a box that assets are placed in and the creator can add or subtract assets as they please during their lifetime. Once the creator has died, the lid on the box closes and it is now up to the trustee or co-trustees of the trust to disperse it according to the grantors wishes.
Can a Trustee access my Trust?
A trustee does not have access to anything in the trust during the grantors lifetime. The only exception would be if the grantor is legally documented as incapacitated.
What if I already have a Trust? Do I need a Will also?
Yes, in addition to a Trust, often there will be a “pour-over” will associated with it. Any asset you own at your death that is not already included in the trust, will “pour-over” into the trust. The benefit of this is that the beneficiary of these items is kept private within the protection of the Trust.
How often should I update my Will or Trust?
A Will or Trust should be amended anytime a substantial purchase is made. Ideally, the documents should be reviewed annually but at a minimum every three years is a realistic guideline.
Can I change a beneficiary within my Will or Trust?
Absolutely, you are able to modify the documents at any time during your life. It is your sole right as owner to change your wishes. However, you must be of sound mind and not under any influence from someone at the time changes are made.
Do I need help?
All documents must be drafted and executed by a skilled estate planning attorney that is well educated on all state laws. We are happy to sit down with you and review your individual situation and determine the best way to protect your assets.
If you have a plan in place, we will review your current documents and determine if any amendments are needed.