Jacksonville Wills & Trusts Lawyers
Let Us Help You Plan for the Future of Your Loved Ones
Wills and trusts are two of the most commonly utilized—and most valuable—estate planning tools available today. They can help you provide for your loved ones after your death. A will makes it so you can specify exactly which of your belongings should go to which beneficiaries. A trust is a tool that allows you to use and manage all your property while you’re living, and then leave the property to your beneficiaries upon your death. Both are excellent options, and our team can help you to choose which is right for you.
UNDERSTANDING A WILL:
Of all the estate planning tools available, wills are the one that most people are aware of. While they are aware that they exist, most people either don’t have one in place or don’t really know what a will can do for them. The following are some of the key benefits of having a will:
- Minor or Disabled Children – If you have minor or disabled children, a will can identify who you want to take care of them in the event of your death.
- Inheritance – A will is the most common document for identifying what you want to happen to your things. You can say you want your home to go to one person, your car to another and your antique coin collection to a third. This document can be as long or as short as needed to ensure your heirs get what you want them to have when you’re gone.
- Expediting Probate – While wills don’t typically allow your loved ones to skip over the probate process entirely, they can often help the probate judge.
- Avoiding Conflict – Emotions run high when a loved one has passed away. If there is no will in place, families often end up fighting over who should get what. The last thing you want is for your death to cause conflict in the family.
If you do not have a will, the state will tell your family how to distribute your property. Don’t leave such an important matter to the state!
To put it simply, every adult should have a will in place. In some cases, this is the only estate planning you will need to do. For others, it will be one piece of an overall estate planning plan. In either case, it is something you should have completed as soon as possible and then updated as often as needed to remain accurate.
UNDERSTANDING A TRUST
Trusts are similar to wills, but offer additional benefits. They generally make the process of transferring assets to heirs much easier for everyone involved. To start with, the assets in a trust are immediately transferred to your beneficiaries after your death. This means there is no need to go through probate court, which can save your loved ones money in court costs and attorney’s fees. This also speeds the process up quite significantly.
Trusts are also a much more private document. While wills are going to end up being public record, trusts like revocable living trusts can be executed with only the knowledge of you and your attorney. You can tell your beneficiaries if you want to, but you don’t have to.
Another benefit of a trust is that you can set them up to take effect should you become disabled. You can identify a successor trustee to step in and manage your affairs without needing a court-mandated guardianship to be appointed.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, living trusts are more difficult to challenge than wills. This can help to prevent disgruntled heirs from attacking your estate plan after you’re gone. Once your living trust is completed, you and your loved ones can have greater peace of mind knowing that your estate will be properly managed and distributed by someone you have personally selected and trust.
If you have any questions about wills or trusts, please get in touch with us right away. Please give us a call, email or reach us through our Contact page.