Servicing clients throughout Southwest Florida, the offices of Life Law Planning is available to explain the differences between a living trust and a will and to counsel you on which estate planning document would best suit your individual needs.
Most people know about wills and their basic purpose – to ensure that one’s hard earned assets go to the right beneficiaries when they pass away. Specifically, a will is a legal document that allows you to name an executor for your estate and to distribute your assets to your named beneficiaries. If you die without a will, then the state of Florida will decide for you who receives your assets through the laws of intestacy. However, wills can be used for a lot more than simply dictating who gets a person’s antique lamp collection. Here’s a list of some of the very valuable things a will can do:
While wills can serve as a powerful estate planning tool, they are only effective if they are properly drafted to suit the needs of each individual. An estate planning attorney can review all your options with you and establish a will in a manner that ensures your wishes will be honored.
An important point to keep in mind, however, is that whether you die with or without a will, in either case your estate will have to go through the Florida probate process, which is expensive and time consuming. A common misconception is that having a will avoids the probate process, which is simply not true. An estate that goes through the probate process is subject to steep statutory probate fees for both attorneys and executors.
Unless your estate is under $150,000 or is being left in its entirety to your surviving spouse, the only way to avoid probate is with a well-drafted living trust. Life Law Planning can assist you in deciding whether a will or a living trust is best suited for your particular situation. Please call today for a consultation.