Everyone Needs a Will
A living will is the most basic of estate planning tools, and everyone should have one. That’s right. Everyone. Single or married, children or no children, young or old, rich or poor, everyone needs a will. A living will is a document that gives instructions after your death. Those instructions typically include what your loved ones should do with the “stuff” you own. In some cases it may also include instructions related to your children and what will happen to them after your death.
Everyone needs a will because otherwise the state will decide what happens to your property by following the ‘laws on intestacy’. Those laws can be complex and are beyond the scope of this article. The good news is that you can avoid them entirely by creating this important estate planning document. You can easily update your will over time as your life and property change. You don’t have to make an entirely new one every time something new happens in your life.
In Virginia, wills must meet certain specific requirements in order to be valid. Creating one is not particularly difficult or expensive. You have no reason not to create a will. Give us a call to get started creating your living will. You’ll find that the process is easier and less expensive than you might expect.
Some people need a Virginia Living Trust
For some clients our skilled estate planning lawyers will recommend that you create a Living Trust. A trust has many advantages depending on your life and financial situation. Through a trust, you can avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, or set up long-term property management. You can also have more control over how and when your loved ones distribute your property.
Finally, avoiding probate is among the greatest advantages of a living trust. Probate is when a court and lawyers distribute your property in accordance with your Will (or if you don’t have a will, in accordance with the laws of intestacy). When you use a trust, you likely won’t need to involve a court or lawyers. You simply designate a person to distribute your assets as you wish. This can save your loved ones thousands of dollars in fees, and the headache of working with the court in a probate process.
A Trust Can Help You Control How Your Money Is Used
One of the reasons some people create a trust is to exercise more control over how their loved ones hold or distribute assets. Some reasons for this include when the deceased wishes to ensure his money is used for the benefit of children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren. Sometimes you can designate money or life insurance proceeds so that the recipient spends it on college, or you can protect it from creditors.
Consider that a Virginia Living Trust is a very powerful estate planning document. It takes time, experience, strategy, and in-depth knowledge to properly build a trust. If you think you might need a trust, it is critical to consult with an experienced Virginia estate planning lawyer. The do-it-yourself approach is a disaster for trusts.
Finally, these aren’t the only two estate planning tools available — there are many options that apply to many different life situations. You shouldn’t wait to create your estate plan. Call us now. Our attorneys will get started on your living will or trust.