Can wills be used for more than just distributing assets?

Having children may motivate parents to start the process of estate planning. However, even singles should have a will and other documents ready in case anything were to happen.

For example, a temporary medical emergency or incapacity might result in missed mortgage or other payments. In fact, an individual may be unable to make his or her own medical decisions. In the event of a tragedy, chances are that an individual will leave behind assets. Without a will or trust, those assets may have to go through the intestacy process and probate.

Estate planning can anticipate these contingencies, and more. To start the process, we try to learn as much about our clients as possible. That way, we can get a better sense of our clients’ loved ones, final wishes and unique circumstances. The process usually begins with a will, which describes how assets will be distributed and who will administer the estate.

Significantly, wills can also be used for many other purposes. A will can create trusts for practically any legal purpose. We try to understand what values are important to a client, and suggest trust instruments that will realize those priorities. If an individual is concerned about his or her current tax situation, assets can be immediately transferred into an irrevocable trust. If an individual desires to avoid probate yet retain control during his or her lifetime, an irrevocable trust may be the solution. To shield assets from a beneficiary’s creditors, a spendthrift trust can be created.

Our law firm has experience with all of these estate-planning instruments. We can also provide advice on naming a responsible and qualified trustee or administrator.

Source: The Legal Intelligence “LGBT Estate Planning: It's Not an Option, It's a Must,” Angela D. Giampolo, Feb. 6, 2016


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