Some important information from my colleagues at Hermanowski Law, PLLC
Everyone needs estate planning. The primary reason to have a will or trust in place is to make life for your loved ones easier when you are no longer around. Once you die, then you can’t decide where your stuff will go. If you don’t have anything in place, then your estate will have to go through probate if you have assets. Here is where the government will decide what happens to your assets. Assets can be a home, car, bank and retirement accounts, and even your personal property. Assets are pretty much anything that you own. Probate can take a long time to complete, can be expensive, and often times your stuff or assets may go to people that you did not intend them to go to.
While you are alive you can decide what happens with your assets. The two main ways are using a will or a trust.
A will is a set of directions to the court that will tell the court who gets what. It also can designate guardians for minor children, among other things. Wills do not avoid probate. Wills help probate move faster and will make your intentions clear. This will help reduce your attorney and court fees during the probation proceedings. Unlike a trust, a will becomes public once it is probated so anyone can see it.
A trust is different than a will and often does the things that many people think a will, will do. Most people think that trusts are for rich people, but that is just not true. It is just another way to help your loved ones with a smoother transition after you die. A trust is a private entity that will help you avoid probate, keep your wishes private, and give you more flexibility than a will. A trust has a set of rules for which the trustees must follow. Initially, you are the trustee and then once you pass or no longer want to be a trustee, you get to decide who will follow the rules that you create. You can also make changes to your trust as your life changes.
Estate planning is a very personal thing. If you do nothing, then the government will make the decisions for you. For a free estate planning consultation, please don’t hesitate to call Hermanowski Law, PLLC at (734) 887-6079.