Last Will and Testament
Your Last Will and Testament is a written legal document that you sign before a Notary Public and two witnesses. It becomes effective at your death and directs how your property will be distributed. Usually, it is effective to transfer only assets held in the sole name of the person who died. It is important to have a Will for several reasons. First, it allows you to name a Personal Representative. Your personal representative will be the person responsible for seeing to it that your final bills are paid after you die and distributing your property to your designated heirs. Second, if you have minor children, a Will lets you nominate a person or persons that you would like to serve as Guardians for your children after you die. Finally, a Will lets you decide how your assets will be divided and distributed after your death – not the State or a Probate Court.
To create a trust, the owner of property transfers property to either himself or another person who is designed as “Trustee.” The Trustee is responsible for managing and holding the property for the benefit of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. There are many types of trusts that are used for different estate planning purposes, such as charitable giving after death, federal estate tax planning, or even Medicaid asset protection planning. The most commonly used trust is a Revocable Living Trust. The primary purpose of a Revocable Living Trust is to allow you to manage your assets during your life and avoid Probate administration after your death.
Contact one of our attorneys today to learn more about how a last will and testament can benefit you and your loved ones.