Wills and Trusts: Providing for the People You Are Thankful for
With it being the Thanksgiving season, most folks are getting into the spirit of the holiday. They are inviting family over, buying a turkey, and whipping up their favorite side dishes (our favorite is creamed-corn). But perhaps one of the best things that anyone could do during this time of year is to look at those around you in your life that you are thankful for and think about what you can do to continue providing for them, even after your gone.
The two primary means of caring for your loved ones after you are gone are Wills and Trusts.
Wills are common documents that most people have at least a little bit of familiarity with. They are essentially a document that speaks to your property and how you would like it distributed when your estate is taken into probate. They distinguish who you would like to manage your estate when you die, also known as the executor or administrator of the estate. Wills also outline who will receive proceeds from your death, also known as beneficiaries. If you have a limited amount of property and you don’t want to undertake the legal complexities and financial hurdles of establishing a trust, a will can be the route you go. A will is a simple document and is very cheap to have made. While it doesn’t allow you to bypass probate like a trust would, it does give direction to the Court and the executor of your estate during probate which can go a long way towards making sure your property is distributed the way you want it upon your passing.
Trusts are more in depth and allow for the estate to bypass probate, thus saving time and money for your estate and your loved ones. A trust is an entity that is created during the life of the person who creates them. When you set up a trust you become the trustee. During your life you are the trustee and upon your death you name a successor trustee to take over for you. The trustee is the person who manages the trust, both putting property into it, and distributing it upon the death of the trust owner. When you have real estate and high value property it is often required that you go through the probate process. However, a trust allows you to bypass the probate process because you have essentially already distributed your property during your life and thus the court doesn’t need to oversee its distribution after your death.
Both wills and trusts have their own benefits and drawbacks, both also have complexities in how they are created and maintained. Since you only get one opportunity to state your post-partum wishes it is important to ensure it is done correctly and encompasses all of your wishes.
While it will always be painful to lose you, and your absence around holidays like Thanksgiving will always be felt, it will help your family immensely to know that they have done right by your wishes. Drafting a will or setting up a trust will help to give your family that comfort and closure that they sorely need. That closures allows them to focus less on the stresses of probate and determining who gets what, and focus more on being thankful for the gifts they have received from someone they love and miss dearly.
In order to ensure that your voice is able to be heard by your loved ones even when you can no longer be seated with them at the Thanksgiving table, consider contacting the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or by phone at (815) 455-8430.