By: Matthew McRorie, McRorie Law PLLC
When transferring what we have accumulated during our lifetimes to our loved ones there are several different options. The three main options are to do nothing, have a will, or form a trust. Each of these have advantages and draw backs. There are many factors which go into which one is right for you.
The first option is to do nothing. If you do not have a will or trust, your property at your passing is divided according to how the state sees fit. This is known as intestate succession. Intestate succession leads to probate, which is a process in which a Judge monitors the process of the distribution of your estate. The only advantage to doing nothing is there is no up front cost. The main pitfalls of doing nothing are; the state decides who your property should go to, the fees associated with going through probate can diminish the value of your estate, a judge will decide who raises your children without your input, and the hassle your loved ones will go through not having a clear direction of how to settle your affairs. Leaving your loved ones without clear direction can lead to disagreements which can damage your family.
Having a will is the most common manner in which people leave their affairs in order. In a will people can do several things including naming a personal representative to administer the estate, naming who they would like to raise their minor children and directing who they want their property to be given to. The main advantage to a will is that you can clearly communicate what your wishes are. The main disadvantage is that your estate still has to go through the probate process which can be both lengthy and expensive. To avoid the probate process a trust can be formed.
A trust is the best way to pass property to loved ones. By forming a trust, the probate process can be avoided. While a trust is more expensive to form initially than a will it can actually save money over a will due to the avoidance of probate fees. The main advantage to a trust is the avoidance of probate which is not only cheaper but more efficient, as a judge does not have to oversee the process. The main disadvantage to a a trust is the upfront cost. The piece of mind a trust can provide by knowing your loved ones won’t have the hassle of trying to settle your affairs is worth the cost in the end.
To keep from having the state decide how your property is distributed have a will or trust formed today. You spent a lifetime accumulating your assets and it only fitting you should decide who they go to. If you have minor children, do not leave who raises them in the event of your untimely death to the state. Have your wishes known by seeing a lawyer today.