A will is a document used to leave assets upon the passing of an individual. While a will may at times have some crossover with a trust, it at least designates who is supposed to carry out a person’s wishes when they pass away. Wills are designed to set up any funeral wishes or burial arrangements that may have been made and will also designate the potential beneficiaries, or the people who might inherit from the person’s estate. That’s typically what a will does at a minimum.
Do I Need Both A Will And A Trust?
If you have a trust, you should also have a will 100 percent of the time. If you have a will, you may or may not need a trust to go with it. A will can stand alone, and though in theory a trust could also stand alone, there’s good reason to have both. A will may do certain things that the trust won’t do, and a trust may do certain things that the will won’t do, so they work well going hand-in-hand. They complement each other and can be useful in providing a catch-all just in case one document does not accomplish what the person who created it hoped it would do.
Can Someone Realistically Create A Trust On Their Own Without The Assistance Of An Experienced Attorney?
Whether someone can realistically create a trust on their own without the assistance of a qualified attorney might be best understood through the use of an analogy. I myself am a pretty handy guy, meaning I can do some repairs around the house, especially if they’re minor in nature. If, however, I was to have my entire kitchen or bathroom remodeled, I wouldn’t attempt that project on my own. I would hire a professional contractor in order to complete the job. This is similar to how I would approach treatment if I felt something might be wrong with my health. I can get on the internet and read WebMD; I might even be able to figure out some of my health circumstances. Nevertheless, that’s not a substitute for going to a medical doctor to find out the complete picture and to know for certain what is wrong with me.
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In both of these examples (the remodeled kitchen and the health situation), I might feel like I have a pretty good idea of what’s happening, but there’s no way of knowing whether the work is being done properly, whether we are getting the critical information. The same thing is true when creating a trust. You can certainly try to create a trust on your own without the assistance of an attorney. However, once you create it, you really have no way of knowing if that trust is going to be valid, if it will do what you think it should do, without knowing some of the standardized language that the law will look to be in a trust if you haven’t done it before in your life. If you’re using a qualified attorney who has done this many times, they’re certainly going to make sure that the things you want are in the trust and that the trust actually works and does the things you want it to do.
What Are The Differences Between Other Estate Planning Tools Outside Of Wills And Trusts?
Other estate planning tools, such as perhaps a durable power of attorney or a living will, actually take effect while the person or the family is still alive. Although a will is drafted and signed while the person is living, it doesn’t become active or have any effect until the date of death. Therefore, the biggest difference between tools is that you can begin to utilize some right away, while the person who is planning is still alive.
What Should Be Addressed In A Will?
One of the most important things in a will is the designation of who is going to be in charge of carrying out your wishes. The second thing that can be addressed is to whom you’d like your assets to be left, meaning who will be the beneficiaries of your estate. You could also put in some of your wishes regarding your funeral or your burial.
If you have other unique things that you’d like to say to people or that you’d like to leave in your will, you can also do that, as well as designate any items that are specific in nature that you might like to go to certain people. For example, if you have a certain heirloom (i.e., a piece of jewelry or a piece of art), you could leave that as a specific gift to one of the beneficiaries of your will.
What Happens After Someone Who Has A Will Dies?
After someone who has a will passes away, that document most likely will need to go to probate, which is the court process wherein the court determines if a will is valid and legal and, if so, allows the will to distribute the assets of the person the way that they indicated within the document. Sometimes, a will does not need to be probated or may be able to go through a summary process, which just means that the court will do an informal processing of it. In conclusion, the two main channels are the formal process of probate or an easier, less formal version of it.
How Long Will It Take For Me To Create A Will With An Attorney? Is It An Expensive Process?
While it depends on the complexity of your circumstances, most attorneys, myself included, can get the amount of information they need to come up with a plan and start the process of creating a will within one to three hours of meeting with a client or a family. After that, the attorney may need several weeks or longer to actually draft that document before you’re ready to sign it.
Regarding the cost, you’re probably looking at spending hundreds, rather than thousands, of dollars in order to create a will. I wouldn’t consider a few hundred dollars to be expensive when you’re talking about the impact that this document can have in the long term.
For more information on Wills in the State of Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (813) 773-2900 today.
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