One of the many things people do before they die is make an estate plan. An estate plan can help decide what happens with your assets after you’re gone.
Most people aren’t very familiar with the process, so it’s natural to have a number of questions. Here are some of the most common people have:
1. Do I really need a will?
Many people die without a will, which is called dying “intestate.” This can make you question whether you must have a will. But, dying intestate can create problems for your family and loved ones. For example, if you die intestate, the state will step in to manage your estate on your behalf. However, because the state doesn’t know your last wishes, your assets could go to the wrong family members, which can create issues and legal battles.
2. Is it better to have a trust?
A will, as you may know, is a legal document that dictates where your assets go in anticipation of your passing. Simply put, a trust does much of the same thing. But, with everything a will can do, a trust is likely to do better. For example, you can help your loved ones avoid probate and estate taxes when you create a trust in their name.
3. Will my estate plans need to be updated?
It’s not uncommon for people to find that their original estate plans excluded some assets and investments or even potential heirs. But, you can update your estate plan as you wish. Many people update their estate plans every few years or, for example, after marriage or childbirth.
4. Do I need legal help?
Estate planning is a complicated and unique process. By handling your estate plans by yourself without the right legal knowledge, you may be jeopardizing the future of your family and loved ones. You may need to reach out for legal help when drafting your estate plan.