When our financial advisors introduce estate planning discussions, the most common response we hear is: “I already have a will.” One of the most significant mistakes you can make is relying solely on a will to administer your estate.
A will does not provide:
- Privacy. Your Last Will and Testament will be recorded at the court of clerk’s office and becomes public record.
- Security. Assets included in a will must pass through probate, which offers opportunity for a will to be disputed. If you have assets in multiple states, your estate will likely require probate in every state unless you have properly structured your estate plan to avoid such.
- Asset protection. Bequeathing assets via a will exposes them to estate claims. Also, a will cannot protect against claims or judgments against an heir, which could deplete their inheritance. These documents also do not provide spendthrift protection should an heir wastefully spend their inheritance.
Our advisors review various trust options to help address the items above. Trusts are confidential, have specific terms and a trustee to oversee the terms are carried out, can include spendthrift clauses, and hold assets securely so that they bypass probate altogether.
Wills v. Living Wills
Wills are documents that provide instructions for the disposition of your assets upon your death. Other estate planning efforts help guide the administration of your money and assets, as well as healthcare decisions, while you’re alive. In the event you’re incapacitated, a living will and powers of attorney can include instructions for an appointed party who can oversee your finances and healthcare decisions.
Our advisors work closely with your attorney to help you revise or create an estate plan that supports the legacy you want to leave behind. Schedule a consultation to discuss how to employ estate planning tools so that they align with your values.