The last will is the most commonly utilized vehicle of asset transfer in the field of estate planning. That being stated, many people have misconceptions about the administration process when a will is used. They envision a solemn meeting taking place after the funeral that centers around the “reading of the will” and the imminent distribution of assets. In reality, things are handled much differently.
Your estate would be probated if you use a last will as the centerpiece of your estate plan. The executor that you named in the document would take care of the hands-on administration tasks, and the probate court would provide supervision.
Because the probate court would be examining the will to determine its validity, it should be constructed with the realities of probate in mind. Every jurisdiction is different so the wise course of action is to have a Charlotte probate lawyer from our firm draw up your last will (if you do in fact decide that a will is the right vehicle for you).
To tie things together neatly, your probate attorney can then assist your executor after your passing as the estate is being probated. There are a lot of details that must be attended to during the probate process, and your probate lawyer would be there to make sure that nothing is left undone.
In this manner, you would have a professional who is familiar with your wishes guiding the process. And at the same time, your attorney would have a great deal of experience dealing with the specific court that is supervising the administration of the estate.
Last Will Alternative
Being in a position to bequeath a life-changing sum of money to your loved ones after you pass away is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is comforting to know that you can provide for family members and be sure that they have a financial underpinning in place.
But on the other hand, you may be concerned about how certain people will react to a sudden influx of financial resources. This may be particularly true if you have someone in the family that has not yet made his or her mark in the world as an individual. If you utilize a last will as your asset transfer vehicle, a spendthrift could quickly burn through a lump sum inheritance.
You could utilize a revocable living trust instead of a last will to respond to this dynamic. When you establish the trust originally, you can act as the beneficiary and the trustee so you don’t lose control of the assets. Plus, as the name indicates, you have the power of revocation. If you ever want to take back direct personal possession of the assets, you can simply distribute the assets to yourself or revoke or dissolve the trust.
In the trust declaration, you would name your spendthrift heir as the beneficiary that succeeds you, and you would name a successor trustee. The trustee can be someone that you know personally if there is a qualified and willing individual in your orbit. Another option would be to use a professional fiduciary like a trust company or the trust department of a bank.
You can leave behind specific instructions with regard to the way that you want the assets to be distributed to the beneficiary after you are gone. For example, let’s say that assets in the trust produce $50,000 worth of income every year. You could instruct the trustee to distribute this amount annually while the trust remains intact to provide ongoing income for the beneficiary.
This is one of a number of different benefits of a revocable living trust. You can also account for incapacity by empowering a disability trustee to administer the trust if you ever become unable to do so yourself while you are living.
All the assets are consolidated when you have a living trust so the administration process is streamlined. Plus, you can include a pour over will in your estate plan that would allow the trust to absorb assets that you never conveyed into the living trust. These are a handful of the advantages, but there are others.
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As you can see, there are different possibilities when it comes to estate planning. If you would like to learn more about them, attend one of our upcoming seminars. Admission is free, but we urge you to click this link to register right now, because space is limited.