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Congratulations – you’ve done well enough in life that your heirs will be left with a nice nest egg. Or will they? Without a Will in place, it’s the state, not you, who decides how and when to divvy up your worldly possessions.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I really need a will? What happens if I don’t have one?
Having a will is about ensuring that your family and loved ones are provided for as you see fit. A Will is a legally-binding document that can diffuse family fights over who is in charge of the estate or who is entitled to what. Without a Will in place, your loved ones will be left with the task of petitioning the court for permission to probate your estate. Without a Will, the distribution of your property will be subject to the laws of intestate succession rather than your personal plan.
My children are still minors. How does a will protect them in the event I die before they’re grown?
A properly drafted will can include provisions that spell out who will have custody of your children, in the event of your death and who will be in charge of any money you may have left for them. Otherwise, someone must petition the court to become the legal guardian of your child and the conservator over the money you left for their benefit.
What if my circumstances change? Can I alter my will?
Yes, wills can be amended as long as you’re legally competent. Births, deaths, and divorces are common reasons for updating a will.
What’s the difference between an estate and a trust?
An estate is all the property someone owns at the time of death. A trust is its own separate legal entity which can be drafted to continue on after your death or disperse at the time of death. When a trust is formed, a trustee or trustees are appointed by you to oversee and manage the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Trusts may be devised hold assets such as real estate for the enjoyment of your family or to distribute assets at a designated time, even if the grantor of the trust is still alive. For example, a person of means might purchase stock for their child or grandchild, but that child or grandchild is not allowed access to the stock until reaching a specified age.
Estate Planning, Trust & Estates and Medicare and Eldercare Planning.
Reservitz McCluskey, P.C. offers a full range of trust and estate services to our clients to preserve their wealth and to enable them to pass assets to their families and other beneficiaries in the most appropriate and tax-effective manner. Today seniors who have amassed substantial equity in real estate often require Medicare planning to avoid losing their legacy to the cost of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Our attorneys provide thoughtful and comprehensive advice to a variety of clients from different backgrounds and with different needs.