Did you know that if you die without a will, the state’s statutory laws will apply and all your assets will be divided amongst your family members without any say from you? In addition, guardians will be appointed for your dependents and they probably will not be the same that you would have chosen. There could be many additional costs in terms of legal fees and, if you had even a modest estate, most likely higher taxes. The state will not make any attempt to limit your exposure to taxes and will not make charitable contributions on your behalf.
By making and properly executing a will, you get to appoint your own executor, name the guardians for your dependents, make specific bequests and charitable contributions and be as creative as you would like. Since this could be the last interaction with others where it affects your loved ones, why not have your will properly represent your thoughts, wishes and values?
Another great estate planning tool is the use of a Trust. Whether it be a Family or a Life Insurance or Charitable Trust, a trust can allow you to ensure the financial well-being of your family by removing assets from an estate which helps to reduce probate expenses and possible estate taxes. A trust can potentially provide an income to you and/or your designated survivor(s) for life (or a set number of years). Lastly, a trust can enable assets to move swiftly, smoothly, and confidently into the hands of the desired recipient(s) because the assets escape probate. A trust is a very efficient estate planning tool in so many ways.
Feel free to call our agency for advice and direction on any and all estate planning questions. We believe in the importance of estate planning and would love to share our knowledge with you.