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Wills and trusts are two of the most basic types of estate planning documents. Both of these documents allow individuals and spouses to create a plan for what will happen to their estates after they die. When drafting a will or trust, estate planners should make sure that their wills and trusts support the primary goals of a well-planned estate, such as:
- Establish an estate distribution plan that honors one’s relationship with heirs and beneficiaries.
- Create a guardianship plan and financial plan for dependents.
- Reduce estate tax burdens.
- Make the probate process faster, easier and less costly — or bypass probate altogether.
- Reduce the chances of family infighting.
More About Wills
Depending on the size of a particular estate, a will could be a simple, one-page document or consist of multiple, lengthy tomes. Here is some basic information about wills that every estate planner needs to understand:
What should be included in a will?
There are several things a will should establish:
- A description of the estate
- The heirs and beneficiaries who will receive the property of the estate
- Special instructions concerning how to care for any minor children and who will serve as guardian for the children
- Instructions for any gifts to charities and nonprofits
- A named personal representative or executor who will supervise the financial and legal aspects of the estate
Legal requirements for a valid will:
There are a few legal requirements for a valid will. These include:
- The will creator must be of sound mind and at least 18 years of age.
- The will should be in writing, preferably typed. Handwritten wills, known as “holographic wills,” are less likely to hold up in court.
- The will must be signed before witnesses and the signature notarized.
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More About Trusts
A trust can serve as a supplement or replacement of a will. It can also be used to manage one’s property prior to death. Due to the flexibility of trusts as legal documents that can achieve many different kinds of objectives, there are numerous benefits and uses of trusts when it comes to estate planning.
Here is some basic information about the valuable features and different types of trusts:
Avoiding probate with trusts:
Trust assets will not have to pass through the probate process. Beneficiaries of trusts will receive their trust benefits immediately in accordance with the instructions laid out in the document.
Privacy and trusts:
Unlike wills, which go through public probate proceedings, the distribution of assets in a trust will remain private and confidential.
Flexible estate distribution options:
Trusts can distribute assets to beneficiaries in many different ways. Perhaps the estate planner prefers an heir receive an inheritance in monthly installments over the span of a decade. This and more can be achieved with a well-planned “spendthrift trust.”
Special needs trusts:
Parents of special needs children can set up a trust funded by a life insurance policy at death or with personal assets. This trust provides a higher quality of life for the child while retaining the child’s government benefits.
Individuals who need to go into a nursing home can move their personal assets into a trust to receive Medicaid benefits without exhausting their personal assets on long-term care expenses.
Estate Planning Lawyer in Tucson
If you’re ready to create a strategic plan for your family’s future, seek out an estate planning lawyer you can trust at the Moore Law Firm, in Tucson. We will ask all the right questions to make sure your will or trust fulfills the needs, wants and wishes of you and your family.