Planning your will is one of the best things you can do for your estate, as well as for your heirs. The question is what is the first step? Before you can make decisions regarding the creation of a will, it is critical to understand what your options are. Numerous types of wills accommodate most desires and wishes within the letter of the law specific to your state.
In short, all wills are documents that legally outline your goals for your estate. There are various ways to make those wishes take place.
- A Simple Will covers basic needs. This includes the distribution of assets, and is often preferable for those with limited assets and smaller estates.
- A Guardianship and Trust is a document outlining your goals for your children, including those children who are minors, or those who are disabled and unable to care for themselves. This document will specify your instructions in terms of who will take guardianship of the children, as well as who will manage the children’s estate after your death. This includes all funds and assets you plan to leave to your child after your death.
- Revocable Living Trusts are another type of will planning tool. This will allow you to create assets that pass on to your heirs according to your wishes, but that do so by avoiding probate court. If you wish to leave money or assets to family, friends or charities, this is a good way of reducing tax implications on the funds. You can also change these trusts throughout your lifetime, as you need to.
- Pourover Wills are yet another type of will. It compliments a revocable living trust by addressing any assets that are not included in the trust. It works to transfer those assets into the trust at the time of your death.
Selecting the right type of will is a complex process. Because of taxes and legal requirements that do change frequently, it is up to you to choose the right will for your goals and based on the size and type of estate you have. It is always a good idea to work with a trusted attorney for this process since the attorney ensures the will is legally binding and fills all necessary requirements. If a will is not valid, anything you planned for will not occur. To ensure this does not happen, plan to create the right type of will for you with an estate planning attorney.