The Difference Between a Will and Estate Plan
Are you in need of an Estate Plan or does your existing plan need to be reviewed? Over the years I have met with countless individuals and couples who think a will and testament is the solution for the efficient disposition of their assets. However, after I explain to them the benefits of a comprehensive Estate Plan many of them realize a well-crafted plan is more appropriate in meeting all of their needs and objectives.
What are some of the benefits of a comprehensive Estate Plan compared to a Will and Testament?
- Avoids probate at death
- Prevents court control of minors’ inheritances. This is especially important when naming minors as beneficiaries on life insurance policies. Without a plan, the court will be in control of the life insurance proceeds until the minor attains age 18. Thereafter, any remaining money will be distributed to the 18-year-old without restrictions. Typically, this is not desirable. A living trust can avoid court interference and distribute the proceeds to the beneficiaries at a more appropriate age.
- Provides maximum privacy. A will is public record potentially exposing the beneficiaries to disgruntled heirs or unscrupulous solicitors. A trust is private.
- Prevents court control of assets at incapacity
- Assets remain in the trust until you want beneficiaries to inherit
- Quicker distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
- Prevents unintentional disinheriting and other problems of joint ownership
If you already have a comprehensive Estate Plan in place, the following events indicate it may be time for a review.
- Have you had a change in marital status?
- Have you moved?
- Has there been a death of Beneficiary?
- Is your plan out of date?
If you want to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation, don’t hesitate to contact Andrew J. McCulloch at the Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys Law Firm. The firm is committed in its effort to offer quality estate planning services at a reasonable cost. A typical plan includes pour over wills, a revocable trust, financial and medical powers of attorney, funding instructions and deeds transferring property to the trust.