Estate planning is just like any other kind of planning. It requires looking closely at what you’re trying to accomplish, then laying out the steps necessary to reach those goals. If, for instance, you own a business, your estate plan is going to hold certain components. If, on the other hand, you have a special needs child, your estate plan will look completely different.
Fortunately for you, we at Thomas & Bayes-Weiner, LLC are invested in building the estate plan that is right for you and your family. In fact, our mission is to create an estate plan or trust that is specialized to fit your needs and goals.
Estate Planning Components
There is a misconception that writing down your wishes on a piece of paper means that you have a will, and then you’re set for life on your estate plan. However, there’s a bit more to it than that. A good estate plan has many components — really any combination of those discussed below. It all depends on the unique needs of you and your family.
Wills & Probate
“Will” is by far the most commonly recognized word in the estate planning dictionary. Wills are a popular place to begin the estate planning process because they are very affordable and don’t require a lot of stress up front. That being said, you should explore all of your options before sticking with this tool. After all, wills do not avoid the lengthy and costly probate process, whereas trusts do.
“Probate” is a term you’re likely to hear alongside “will.” The reason — a will holds no value until it is probated. Visit our probate and trust litigation page to learn more about this process.
Revocable living trusts
As its name implies, this kind of trust is “revocable,” meaning it can be changed by the person who created it, and it is established while that person is still living. A revocable living trust allows its creator to declare a trustee A) during their lifetime, B) in the event that they become incapacitated and C) after they have passed away.
Whoever is named the trustee at any given time is responsible for managing the trust creator's assets during life and distributing those assets upon their death.