In my last blog post, I talked about the two big questions we ask (and answer) when preparing an estate plan:
· What happens to my stuff when I die?
· What happens to me and my stuff if I’m temporarily or permanently incapacitated?
Today, we’ll discuss how people typically answer the first question, and here are the options:
Choice No. 1 - Do nothing
Believe it or not, most people do nothing… If you do nothing, then you’ll have little say in how your affairs are handled upon your death. As we’ve discussed previously, your estate would be handled and distributed by a probate court. Needless to say, we don’t recommend taking this route.
Choice No. 2 - Create a Last Will and Testament
The second way of addressing this question is by creating a Last Will and Testament. A Last Will and Testament has a number of positives. For example, you can detail your final arrangements, nominate guardians for your minor children, name personal representatives for your estate, and give your loved ones specific distributions. Unfortunately, a Last Will "by itself" does not avoid probate.
Choice No. 3 - Create a Revocable Living Trust
Lastly, the third way (and, in my opinion, the best way) of addressing this question is by creating a Revocable Living Trust. A Revocable Living Trust is a legal entity you create to hold your assets. (You still completely control them, however, as Trustee.) This is the most important aspect of a trust because, if properly funded, your assets do NOT have to be probated. Upon your death, your Successor Trustee (someone you trust) simply distributes your assets to your beneficiaries.
You decide how you’ll answer the first big question, but at least, now you have the information with which to make a good decision. If you’re interested in finding out more or you’d like to start the process of creating your own Revocable Living Trust, please contact me at (813) 244-7758 or Ross@RossSpanoLaw.com.