"Estate planning doesn't have to be over complicated or expensive. With All About Trust, we provide state-specific documents; quickly, efficiently, and affordably."
There are really only 3 estate planning options . . .
1. Do nothing: When we die, the state has a process in place to settle our affairs called PROBATE. Probate manages, settles, and distributes property. If we die without a Will, the court has or imposes their Will on us. Items that are subject to probate are known as probate assets. Probate assets generally consist of any property that we own at the time of our deaths and that passes to our beneficiaries. Probate is expensive, takes up to years to settle, and is a very public process. The state makes all the decisions.
2. Create a Last Will and Testament: A Will only does three things; 1) designates an executor who will represent the estate during the probate process, 2) declares who will care for any minor children, and 3) outlines the distribution of assets to surviving beneficiaries. A Will goes into effect when we die. Probate is caused by creditors or children making claims on the estate. A Will enable the transfer of assets to beneficiaries, therefore, probate is still necessary.
3. Establish a Living Trust: A Trust is an entity, similar to a business, created to manage the transfer of assets to beneficiaries and avoid the probate process. The transfer of assets requires a signature just like when selling a home, we sign the deed to transfer the ownership to the buyer. When we die, our signature dies with us. The lack of a signature requires the judge to represent the estate to transfer the assets to the beneficiaries. The owners/creators/trustees of a trust are like the presidents of their company. They appoint a successor trustee or vice president to take over when they pass. The signature authority for the Trust transfers to successor trustee which enables the transferring of assets to beneficiaries thus avoiding the need for probate.