By simple definition, a Will basically states who is supposed to get your money and possessions after you’re gone. In reality, a Will isn’t quite so simple.
Wills must go through Probate Court. A judge has to agree to it and give permission for the contents to be distributed. And since it goes through the public court, it becomes a matter of public record. This means that anyone who wants to can see what was in your will and know who got what and how much.
Wills are often contested, meaning someone who is named in the will disagrees with what was left, or maybe they were not named to receive anything but think they deserve something (see Prince!). This can mean anything from a delay of distribution to a long and expensive process, making your loved ones wait and wait and wait.
So if you have a Will, you don’t need an Estate Plan. It’s your loved ones that need you to have one. With an Estate Plan, what’s in the estate and who gets it stays private, no court need be involved. You name an “Trustee” who handles the details of who gets what. This could be family member, trusted friend or even (often) your attorney who helped you create the plan.
While it may seem more complicated to create the Estate Plan, it will be much easier on your family in the (hopefully) long run!
If you have questions about estate plans, family estate planning, wills, or living trusts, please go ahead and ask us a question below or click here to contact us for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation today.