Estate planning: The Last Will and Testament is an important legal document that is the first building block for any good estate plan. Your estate planning attorney will propose either a will-based estate plan or a trust-based estate plan after deciding that you require one. Your last will and its owner will take on dramatically different roles depending on the type of plan you choose.
With a will-based estate plan, your final will and formula will provide all the essential details about who will inherit your property, when and how they will inherit it, and who will have responsibility for settling your final affairs.
With a will-based estate plan, your final will and trust will include four important points:
- who will serve as personal representative / executor, means the person responsible for settling your final affairs and ensuring that the beneficiaries will receive their inheritance;
- What powers does your Personal Representative/Executor have;
- How and when your ownership will eventually be transferred to your beneficiaries.
Note that if you have minor children, your last will and covenant will also cover a fifth important point: who will serve as a newspaper for your minor children until they become adults.
Real estate plan based on trust
With a trust-based estate plan, the Revocable Living Trust will cover the above four important points, but the person responsible for settling your final affairs after your death will be called the administrative trustee or your successor rather than the personal representative or executor.
Even with the Revocable Living Fund, however, you’ll still need the last will and covenant. But if you fail to fund a single asset in your trust, your last will and formula will be necessary to “catch” the unfunded property and transfer it to your trust after you die. In this case, the Last Will and Testament will simply act as “Pour Over Will,” meaning that it will provide the unfunded asset(s) to flow into your trust after death through a validation process.
Pour Over will only need to cover two important points:
Who will be liable for your unfunded assets in your trust as the Personal Representative/Executor; And the
What powers does your Personal Representative/Executor have?
Note that if you have minor children, Pour Over Will will also cover a third important point: Who will serve as newspaper for your minor children until they become adults.
Where will the unfunded assets go to the Revocable Living Trust once it goes into the Proof of Things? This will be determined by the terms of your Revocable Living Trust.
What happens without a last will and covenant?
What happens if you fail to will two other wills before you die? Then the state in which you live at the time of death, as well as any other state in which you own real estate at the time of your death, will provide a last will and will for you under the laws of the prudent state.
Why you need estate planning lawyer
- These laws vary widely from state to state, and can result in different people inheriting your property if you own real estate in more than one state.
- The only way to guarantee that your property will go to the beneficiaries you choose (even if you are single) as opposed to the beneficiaries who state that your residence in the state or state in which you choose your estate is your last will and testament.
- Estate planning attorneys are helpful during the estate planning process and thereafter throughout probate court proceedings
- They understand state and federal laws that will affect your property.
- This means that an estate planning attorney can not only describe the various options available to you, but also ensure that your wishes are carried out in accordance with the law.
- Hence, their estate plan must follow state guidelines to avoid trouble and expenses later.
- An estate planning attorney can also be used to guide anyone with a power of attorney regarding the estate of a recently deceased person through the Ten Commandments Court process.
- In fact, a good estate planning attorney can help you avoid probate court altogether, but a lot of this depends on the type of the deceased’s estate and how it is legally allowed to be transferred.
- Let us explain why you should get an estate planning attorney and what to look for in an attorney.
What does an estate planning attorney do?
Estate planning does not begin and end with the final will.
An attorney who specializes in this area will also draft living credits, create a plan to mitigate or avoid inheritance taxes, and ensure that your life savings and assets are safe from your recipient’s creditors after your death.
They can set up a power of attorney and health care guidelines that allow someone to take care of your affairs if you become mentally incapacitated.
If you need someone to look after your affairs, they can assist you prevent guardianship or guardianship complications.
Why do I need an estate planning attorney?
Estate planning attorneys, also known as estate legal attorneys or probate attorneys, are experienced, licensed legal professionals with in-depth knowledge of state and federal laws that affect how your property will be inventory, valued, distributed, and taxed after your death.
An estate planning attorney can assist you with the following responsibilities in addition to teaching you about the probate process:
- Create a will
- Select Beneficiaries
- Create a permanent general power of attorney and permanent medical power of attorney
- Find ways to avoid probate court proceedings
Create the trusts you may need to protect your assets, whether for your own benefit during your lifetime in the event of a disability or for the benefit of your beneficiaries after your death.
Estate planning attorneys often charge a flat fee to help you draft binding legal documents, such as wills and permanent power of attorney.
But they can also be hired part-time to help you maintain your property, and act on your behalf to handle conflicts as they arise. And be sure to carry out your will according to plan, if necessary.