When you ask an estate planning attorney the question that serves as the title of this blog post, you would probably expect the answer to be a simple “everyone.” In fact, everyone should have a will, but the essence of the answer may not be exactly what you think that it is.
The most commonly understood will is the last will or last will and testament. This is an estate planning document that you could use to state your wishes regarding the way that you want your assets to be transferred after you die. Without question, everyone should have some type of asset transfer vehicle in place.
However, a last will is not always the best choice, even if your situation is not extraordinarily complicated. A will would be admitted to probate after your passing, and this would delay the distribution of inheritances. The court would supervise the administration of the estate, and the process would take close to a year in most cases.
If you were to use a revocable living trust instead of a will as an asset transfer vehicle, the assets could be distributed to the heirs outside of probate, so the distributions would take place in a more timely manner.
This is one reason to use a trust instead of a will, but there are many others, and there are multiple different types of trusts. The ideal course of action will depend upon the circumstances.
The last will is not always going to be the ideal asset transfer vehicle, but there is another type of will that everyone should definitely put in place. Doctors can sometimes keep people alive indefinitely using artificial measures, and you can use a living will to state your preferences regarding the utilization of these measures.
When you have a living will in place, you can be sure that your own wishes would be carried out under these circumstances.
You may be surprised to hear that you need a certain type of will even if you have a revocable living trust. For one reason or another, you may not convey everything that you own into the trust while you are living. If you have a pour-over will in place, the trust could absorb the assets that were in your direct personal possession after you pass away.
As a result, they could be transferred to the heirs in a timely manner outside of probate.
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We have provided a bit of basic information in this blog post. If you would like to learn more about wills and trusts, feel free to contact us through this page to request a no obligation consultation: Grand Forks ND Estate Planning Attorneys.