Even though your estate planning documents are legal documents, they can also be a parting letter to your family and friends. Before you embark on your estate planning journey, sit down and think about where you want your money to go. Many times in the estate planning process, other issues are covered earlier on and the asset distribution is something discussed later on. But thinking about it ahead of time will help you make sure that one of the most important things about estate planning (who receives your money when you pass) is accomplished just as you wish.
This book is designed to help you think creatively and hopefully you will meet with an attorney who frequently handles estate planning issues who can further brainstorm with you on the best way for you to give to those people or organizations you wish.
Trusts are an amazing estate planning tool. In the past, Wills were virtually the only way a person could do estate planning. It was necessary, otherwish their money would be given to those listed in the statutes of the state in which they resided. Since no one really knew what was in the statutes, having a Will made it certain that the assets would go where they wanted it. The problem is if someone is leaving their assets to their loved ones through a Will, their family would most likely be in court to administer that Will after they pass.
Trusts, on the other hand, allow a family to stay out of court by allowing people to create a trust and then having their assets made subject to the trust so that when they pass, the legal ownership associated with the trust allows the family to not need court approval to distribute the assets as the person wished.
Nowadays when a Will is prepared, it is almost always prepared as a backup to whatever the real estate planning structure is. So, for example, in a trust, it would be the primary way the people were planning on distributing their assets, but they would create a backup Will, called a pour-over Will, to allow assets that were mistakenly left out of the trust to then be put in the trust.
This book helps explain what trusts are, how they work, and who might benefit from them.
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