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Individuals & Families

Estate planning with wills and trusts offers security and comfort, ensuring wishes are honored and assets protected, and fostering a legacy of care and stability for families to cherish.

Will Based Estate Planning

“What is a Will?”

Answer:

A will is like a love letter to your family, outlining who receives your treasured belongings and who will guide the process. Those listed to inherit are lovingly called heirs or beneficiaries, while the entrusted overseer is termed a personal representative or executor.

 

It's important to realize that a will doesn't control assets with joint ownership or designated beneficiaries. For instance, retirement accounts and life insurance proceeds go directly to named beneficiaries outside the will. Thus, when crafting your will, it's crucial to ensure it aligns seamlessly with jointly owned assets and designated beneficiaries, ensuring all aspects harmonize according to your heartfelt desires.

 

When a property passes through a will, it must be filed with a probate court, where it undergoes scrutiny and approval before your designated representative can begin their duties. This process involves gathering your assets, settling any outstanding debts with creditors, and ultimately distributing your legacy to your chosen heirs.

 

Despite common misconceptions, a will isn't a magical fix-all. While essential, it requires probate proceedings for its enactment. Understanding this ensures that your wishes are fulfilled with the care and consideration they deserve. A will is not just a legal document; it's a testament to your enduring love and legacy for those you hold dear.

Trust Based Estate Planning

“What is Trust Based Estate Planning?"

Answer:

Think of a trust like a special type of will. Both of them tell who should get your things and who will make sure it happens.

 

The big difference is how they work. When someone passes away, a will needs to go through a process called probate. This means it has to be looked at and approved by a court before anything can be done with it. Everything about the will becomes public during this process, which can be time consuming and costly.

 

But a trust is different. It is a completely private document, nobody else can see it except the ones named in it. And the person you choose to manage the trust can start right away, without needing to go to court or ask for permission.

 

Think of the trust as an operating agreement to your “Life” business. It tells how and to whom your assets are to be distributed. Through your lifetime you are in charge of your trust, you are the Trustee. As the creator, or Grantor, of your trust, you are the only one that can change the rules of the trust. Once you are unable to manage your trust because of incapacitation or passing, the successor trustee will step in and follow the rules you have created.

 

So, a trust is private and can be quicker and easier when someone passes away, unlike a will, which becomes public and has to be approved by a court before anything can happen.