A will can help you avoid intestacy. Dying intestate means to die without a will or trust. If you die intestate, your heirs will receive the statutory share of your property to which they are entitled. If you want someone to receive a particular item, or you want someone to receive more or less than they would receive under the laws of intestacy, then a will might be right for you. Especially if you want to disinherit someone. If your estate is worth more than $150,000 of non-excluded assets then your estate will likely be subject to probate at death.
For most people, a trust will probably better serve their needs because a trust will go through trust administration at the death of the creator(s) of the trust. Trust administration is much cheaper than probate, and it serves the same function in terms of transferring assets to your loved ones. Furthermore, it offers privacy because trust administration is not a court proceeding, which is a public process and is part of the public record. Also, it offers much greater flexibility because you do not need the court's permission to proceed unlike a probate where the court must grant permission for any action you want to take regarding the estate.
However, a Revocable Living Trust is not for everyone. If you have a family that you think would benefit from court supervision during administration, then the oversight and accountability during the court process of the probate of a will may be right for you. The benefits of supervision may outweigh the extra cost for your heirs. For example, if you suspect your family may fight over your assets, the will subjects them to court after your passing. Although, you could hire a professional fiduciary to act as successor trustee of your trust after your passing, and it could potentially circumvent any abuse that you fear may arise during trust administration. This way you could still save your children money by avoiding probate and obtain the other benefits of having a trust.
If you decide a will would better suit your needs than a trust, the Strahle Legacy Planning Will Package includes:
- Power of Attorney
- Advanced Health Care Directive