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Will, Trust, Will Packages. How to know which is right for you

Experienced Attorney

With so much information at our fingertips these days legal documents and contradicting information can get a bit confusing. Most do not even think about planning for their estate until they are ready to retire. Thinking about what will happen to your family once you die isn’t really the fun topic most want to deal with but planning for your future and your family’s future should be top priority.

So, what is the difference in these estate planning tools and who do they benefit?

Simple Will

A standard simple will can be easily set up and executed. They are simple and cost efficient. They are also typically pretty easily changed and revoked. However, upon death a will must be probated which can often be very costly and time consuming. It is likely that if you have property and assets in other states your family may be subject to separate probate in those states as well. So, who would even use this type of will option? Simple standard wills tend to work best for small estates with minimal assets where the cost of a trust or will package would exceed the cost of eventual probate.

Will Package 

Next on the list is the option of a will package. This type of will would include all documents you would need to fully prepare a larger estate and set yourself up should you become incapacitated prior to your death. A will package typically includes Power of attorney paperwork for medical and general purposes as well as declaration of guardianships, 
HIPPA release forms and many other forms to set up your estate to your specifications. These packages can be more costly than the standard simple will and are still subject to probate and can be contested by family members. 

Trusts 

This brings us to trusts. While a trust is more expensive and time consuming to set up it leaves your family with less of a burden during execution. Property and assets do not have to go through the probate process and is likely to be distributed more quickly to heirs. This includes property out of state. A trust is effective immediately and includes a guardianship should you become incapacitated. A trust can also include specific instructions on how assets are to be distributed such as money being passed to heirs. You can state that the money be given in certain increments or even that it be used to pay for education. Trusts however are not easily revoked or changed. Also, any assets not retitled to the trust are subject to probate. 

Which option is best for you is determined by your personal preference, estate, and family lifestyle. One should be wary of online will and trust documents as most must contain special wording and legal requirements to be valid, which are best created with a wills attorney in Arlington, TX. A contradicting or invalid will can leave your assets unprotected. Probate can be a complex situation and one should always consult legal counsel to prepare your estate plan.

 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into estate planning and wills.



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