More than 60% of Americans are moving through life without an estate plan of any sort. This is pretty alarming because the only guarantee we ALL have in life is that it will come to an end. So how come so many of us are unprepared for the inevitable? Like most missed opportunities, I attribute lack of estate planning to lack of information and understanding. So let’s get informed.
A will is a document that states your final wishes. It’s reviewed by a county court after your death, and the court does its best to ensure that your wishes are enforced. But here’s the problem, the court is bound by State law, and if there’s any confusion in the will, the court makes its decision based on the law, not your wishes. This is where things often go completely left.
A will is beneficial because it provides the court with guidance as to distribution of assets and other matters, but who really wants to go to court?
When a family is dealing with the loss of a loved one and all the administrative matters that come along with, the last thing we should be adding to the mix is court. I’m a lawyer and guess what court means to me? Fighting. Court is where we go to fight. Now, the fight may have started already; or I may be simply preparing for a new fight, but trust if I go to court, a fight is involved. Your family is no different. If you put them in position to end up in court, there’s a good chance they will end up in a fight during their most difficult time.
What about your children? If you didn’t make it home tonight, where would they go? Who would raise them? How long would it take the authorities to reach close family and friends? Where will your children be in the meantime? These are all questions that need answers . . . and unfortunately, all too often wills leave the details of these very important concerns unaddressed. Without a solid estate plan, these are questions that tend to go unanswered for a while, which means your children end up with strangers while the local authorities try to figure it out.
Generally, I think we can all agree that something is better than nothing.
A will is better than no will, but do you want to know what’s even better than a will? I know you do! A trust.
I prefer trusts over wills any day, all day for soooo many reasons, but the first one is that it keeps my clients and their vulnerable families out of court during already difficult times. Instead of spending months (or years) and possibly thousands of dollars in probate court trying to get the will enforced, my clients and their families take care of all of the business of the estate right in the comfort and privacy of my office.
Aside from that, I also love trusts because they act as amazing tax shelters, and can shield valuable assets from creditors, divorce, and bankruptcy. Translation: I use trust-based estate planning to protect the coins.
Estate planning is wealth preservation, and keeping those coins in the family, my friends, is a necessity of BOSS LIFE!