Many people are not aware of the fact that there are a number of wills that can be used in the field of estate planning. When you have an understanding of all the tools that are available, you can make fully informed choices. With this in mind, we will look at four different wills in this post.
The one will that everyone has heard of before is the simple will. This type of will is used to state your wishes with regard to the way you want your assets to be distributed after you are gone. If you are the parent of a dependent child, you could designate a guardian in the will.
When you draw up the will, you name an executor to act as the administrator when the time comes. It can be someone that you know personally, but you could alternately use a professional fiduciary such as a trust company or the trust department of a bank.
There are some drawbacks that enter the picture if you use a simple will as the centerpiece of your estate plan. You would be allowing for lump sum inheritances, and this may be less than ideal. Plus, it would be admitted to probate, and the court would supervise during the administration process.
Probate is time-consuming, and the inheritors do not receive anything while it is underway. There are also a number of expenses that accumulate during probate, and there is a loss of privacy, because probate records are available to the public.
You do not have to use a will, and in many cases, a trust of some kind will be a better option. It is wise to discuss your situation with an attorney from our firm to explore the possibilities.
A type of will that should be part of every estate plan is a living will. This document is not used to address financial matters. With a living will, you state your choices with regard to life-sustaining measures like resuscitation, mechanical respiration, feeding tubes, and artificial hydration.
You can make organ and tissue donation declarations in the living will, and it is also possible to record your comfort care medication preferences.
When we provided a basic explanation of the simple will, we indicated that there are some pitfalls that go along with the administration of a will. The commonly embraced alternative is a legal device called a revocable living trust.
As the name would indicate, you can revoke the trust if you ever choose to do so, so there is no loss of control. At first, you can act as the trustee, and you would name a successor trustee to assume the role after you pass away.
The successor would be able to distribute assets to the beneficiaries outside of probate, so the drawbacks would be avoided. You can also instruct the trustee to distribute limited assets over an extended period of time, so there is no lump sum requirement.
If you have a living trust, you may pass away while you are in personal possession of property that you never conveyed into it. To account for this, you can include a pour-over will. This type of will would allow the trust to absorb these assets when the estate is being administered.
An ethical will is a document that you used to share your moral and spiritual values with the loved ones that you will be leaving behind. These documents have been used since biblical times, and the sharing of your “rules to live by” can be a heartfelt addition to your estate plan.
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We are here to help if you would like to discuss your estate planning goals with a licensed Smithtown, NY estate planning attorney. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 631-265-0599.
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