Like many things in life, estate planning is often misunderstood. Here are three common myths about wills and trusts that you might find of interest, and that might help you or your family avoid a few headaches.
- If I die without a Will, everything will go to my spouse…
Not necessarily. If you don’t have a Will, your estate is distributed according to the intestacy statute and in some cases, it could be divided between your spouse and your children. This issue is especially relevant if you have children from a previous marriage.
- A Will avoids probate…
A Will does not avoid probate. A Will simply tells the Court how you want your assets distributed. How can you avoid probate? Joint ownership and beneficiary designations avoid probate. Trusts can also avoid probate. Trusts also can also provide privacy, unlike a Will, which is a public document.
- Creating a trust automatically avoids probate.
In order for a trust to avoid probate, your assets need to be transferred into the trust. At our office, the funding work is done for you; thus you have a better chance of avoiding probate court. Also, it is important for you to review your estate planning documents periodically so that you know it reflects your current situation and wishes. We usually recommend that you revisit your plan at least every five (5) years.*