Preparing a last will is a vital element of estate planning. Regardless if estates are protected by trusts or required to pass through probate, a Will is need to supply instructions regarding distribution of inheritance. This document is also required to designate an estate administrator and beneficiaries who will acquire assets.
A last Will supplies important information regarding any estate planning strategies which have been established. Those who take time to write a Will not only safeguard their estate, but also make estate settlement easier for administrators.
It should be noted there are various kinds of Wills which can be used. The type needed is determined by the kinds of assets and personal belongings involved, as well as a person's lifestyle. As an example, married couples with minor aged children have different needs than single parents or individuals who do not have children.
Business owners should make use of business succession strategies to ensure their company is passed along to successors of their choosing. People who own real estate or other types of titled property ought to establish joint titles so that property can be passed along without enduring probate.
When individuals fail to execute a will and testament their estate will go through a process known as intestate probate. This procedure takes longer than testate probate because a judge has to confirm an estate administrator and determine rightful heirs.
Administrators become the legal fiduciary for decedent estates and are responsible for reconciling the estate in accordance with state law. Estate settlement is a multi-step process that can last for several months. However, the process can be simplified with advanced planning.
Most people find it easiest to retain services from a law firm. Attorneys can help individuals decide which methods are best suited for their personal circumstances. They can also provide guidance for strategies which can minimize estate and inheritance taxes. Two common practices include arranging trusts and Will substitutes.
Will substitutes involve designating beneficiaries to receive funds held in investment and financial accounts or titled property. This is accomplished by arranging payable on death and transfer on death beneficiaries and rights of survivor-ship property titles.
Rights of survivor ship can be established to give property to beneficiaries without the need to endure the probate process. Depending on the jurisdiction of the decedent, survivor-ship rights might have a different name. Common names include joint tenants with right of survivor-ship, tenants in common, tenancy by entire-ties, or joint tenancy.
By means of illustration, if a married couple own property together in Pennsylvania, they would use a document known as Tenancy by the Entities. On the other hand, if the same couple own property in California they would use a Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivor ship form.
Regardless of the name, joint tenancy transfers ownership to the beneficiary without having to pass through probate. The beneficiary automatically inherits the property irrespective of directives provided in the last Will.
A main benefit of establishing joint tenancy is beneficiaries take full ownership in a short amount of time by paying a nominal fee. It should be noted this strategy only permits transferring ownership to one person. Different methods are used when titled property is distributed among multiple beneficiaries.
Trusts are an excellent way to bequeath inheritance property and avoid probate. Since there are many different kinds of trusts it's advisable to get legal counsel. Attorneys can help individuals prepare their last Will, arrange trusts, and create business succession plans.