Thinking about drafting a will? In many instances, a will can be the perfect tool for estate planning purposes, depending of course, on the circumstances surrounding the estate plan and the needs and desires of the client. A will is normally made for the purpose of making a disposition of property to take effect on or after a person’s death. It directs what property goes where and it ensures that the persons you pick in your will to receive your property will indeed receive your property upon your death. If someone you pick to inherit your property dies after you have drafted the will but before your death, the will can contain provisions that allow for the deceased beneficiary’s share of your estate to go to another beneficiary of your choosing. Also, you pick who will be the executor of the will. The executor will be responsible for probating the will and distributing your assets to the beneficiaries you have chosen.
If you have young children, like many of our clients, you can use a will for the added benefit that in the will instrument, you can appoint a guardian to take care of your children should both spouses die before the children become adults. However, it should be noted that both the disposition of property and the appointment of a guardian to take care of your minor children can be handled through another estate planning tool, i.e. a living trust.
What estate planning tool should you use, a will or a living trust? In the current era, people try to avoid probate but that is not necessarily the best choice for everybody. Why? First, creating a living trust is a more complex process involving transferring property into the trust. Almost always, a living trust is more expensive to execute and create. Secondly, if you are a young couple without much in the way of extensive personal property, you main concern may be who will take care of your children if both you and your spouse should die at the same time. A will can take care of this need with a minimum of effort. Then, as you age into your 50”s and 60’s, you may revisit your estate plan and include creating other documents such as a living trust. We at East Bay Probate and Trust Administration will work with you to create an estate plan suited to your circumstances, needs and finances.