You signed your John Hancock, got the stamp from the notary, and then tucked your Last Will and Testament in a safe place. Congratulations! You are ahead of the game when it comes to estate planning, as a whopping one-half of Americans with children have not executed a simple Will.
As you might guess, a properly executed Will is a powerful document. A Will dictates who inherits your property when you pass away. A Will also names the Executor of your estate—the person responsible for carrying out your express wishes. A Will also includes a comprehensive list of a person’s assets for easy reference, ensuring that family squabbles are kept to a minimum.
For all of these reasons, a Last Will and Testament is a crucial part of planning for the future. There are, however, a couple of things a Will cannot accomplish for you and your loved ones.
First and foremost, a Will is useless in the event of incapacity. If sickness, old age, dementia, or an accident renders you unable to make decisions regarding your health and property, your Will remains inoperative. In the eyes of the law, a Will only becomes relevant the date of your death.
Second, a Will does not avoid Probate. Unless a person’s estate is properly placed in a trust before death, the estate usually goes through a court procedure called Probate. Your loved ones will have to jump through a series of legal hoops before your titled property (like your car, home, or bank accounts) can be renamed in the names of your beneficiaries.
What is the solution then? There are a number of planning tools available that cover almost every contingency you can imagine. Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Trusts can fill all of the gaps that a Will leaves open.
Contact the Butler Law Office at 480-921-0626 today for a free consultation with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney who can help you create an individualized plan.