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.
Estate planners should make sure that their wills and trusts support the primary goals of a well-planned estate, such as:
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:
If your spouse or parent dies without a Will, Arizona law determines who will inherit his or her property. - Arizona State Legislature (Title 14, Article 1, Sec. 14-2101)
There are several things a will should establish:
A named personal representative or executor who will supervise the financial and legal aspects of the estate
There are several legal requirements for a valid will. These include:
The will must be signed before witnesses and the signature notarized.
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:
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.
Unlike wills, which go through public probate proceedings, the distribution of assets in a trust will remain private and confidential.
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.”
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.
If you’re ready to create a strategic plan for your family’s future, seek out an estate planning lawyer you can trust at Moore Law in Tucson. At Moore Law, 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.