The property covered by a will must go through probate. Essentially, the probate court must supervise the administration of a will after determining that the will is valid. The court, through the efforts of the executor of the will, ensures that the estate property is distributed based on the wishes of the deceased. On the other hand, trust property is transferred outside of the probate process, which means the court is not required to manage the process. … [Read more...] about Can a last will and testament help me avoid probate?
Generally speaking, the last will and testament controls the property that is in your name alone at the time of your death, but only the property that you specifically identify in the terms of the will. Any other property that is not mentioned in a will is controlled the by the laws of intestate succession. The trust, however, will only pertain to the property that has been transferred or “funded” to the trust. Therefore, in order for a specific asset to be included as trust property, … [Read more...] about The property controlled by a will or trust may be different
The primary goal of a will is to distribute your estate, the primary goals of a trust are to reduce estate taxes and avoid probate whenever possible. Wills can be effective estate planning tools because they can be modified or revoked at any time before your death or before you are deemed incapacitated. A trust is an agreement between two parties for the benefit of a third. One of the primary differences between a will and a trust is that a will only becomes effective after your death. On the … [Read more...] about How is a will different from a trust?
If deciding to use a DIY will instead of the professional services of an estate planning attorney, you should consider the risks that are involved. Estate planning, in general, can be very complex as there are so many variables that must be considered in order to draft the appropriate estate planning documents. Even more basic than that, wills are legal documents that must be drafted and executed in a particular way in order to assure that they are valid. … [Read more...] about Should I consider using a DIY Will?
For many clients, a primary goal of estate planning is avoiding probate. If that is the case for you, consider a "pour over" will. Typically, a pour-over will is used in conjunction with a living trust, which allows selected property or assets to "pass through" your will upon your death, and then be "poured" into a trust. Once that happens, the property can be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the trust. If you have questions about this special type of will, ask one of our Kansas City … [Read more...] about What is the purpose of a Pour Over Will?
When creating a will, you must possess the legal competency or mental capacity to do so. Otherwise, the will may not be considered valid by the court. However, simply because someone has a mental illness or disease, that does not mean they automatically lack the required mental capacity. In fact, if the testator has periods of clarity, he or she could still be considered competent at the time the will is executed, if it occurs during that period of lucidity. … [Read more...] about Can anyone create a will?
Wills need to be in writing, including your name, address and marital status. The terms of the will need to include a statement of which property you want to be distributed to which beneficiaries. It also needs to specify who you want to serve as your executor. That is the person who will have the power to carry out the terms of your will. If you have minor children, you should also include the name of the person you want to serve as their guardian, should anything happen to you and there is … [Read more...] about What are the essential requirements for creating a will?
The Last Will and Testament can be a very useful legal document describing to everyone who survives you exactly how you want your property distributed after your death. Wills can be useful because they can be easily customized, and they can be modified or even revoked at any time while you are still living. … [Read more...] about What is the Last Will and Testament?