The topic of estate planning is not a sexy topic, but one that must be addressed by individuals and families. A Will is a common myth among the U.S. Society. Everybody believes that a will is the way to distribute your assets upon your death. In fact, a will is not a good way to gift your assets upon your death.
First, a will does not avoid the court process called probate court. Probate court is the court that administers wills after a person has deceased. A will must undergo a court process called probate because it is required by law. This probate process takes a minimum of nine (9) months to two (2)years to complete if you are lucky. An attorney often makes between $1,500 to $5,000 on an average probate case plus costs. Costs include filing fees, process server fees, publication fees, and other fees. A will often times encourages disputes because an lawyer must mail out certified notices all the potential heirs. This leads to disputes because one heir may not be happy with the will. The will is a public document, which means that anybody has the right to view your will.
In contrasts, a revocable living trust or otherwise known as a "living trust" is not probatable if set up correctly. The living trust avoids all court proceedings because your assets are not titled in your personal name. They are titled in your living trust's name. The living trust has a trust agreement, which outlines your wishes upon your death. Thus, your assets get distributed per your wishes. Unlike a will, a living trust is a private document. It also is not a document that must go through the probate court process.
Sean Robertson is an estate, corporate, and asset protection attorney. Sean can be reached at 312-498-6080 or 630-364-2318 or via email at RobertsonLawGroup@gmail.com.