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Many clients will choose a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) as the foundation of their estate plans. A person who dies with a Will or other dispositive document is referred to as dying “testate” or, if they should die without a Will, it is said they died “intestate.” If a person dies testate they have the opportunity to control who, how and how much their beneficiaries receive.
A Will is your opportunity to control the disposition of your assets at the time of your death. It is a document which must meet strict criteria in order to be valid. And a Will must be “probated” by the court at the time of the your death.
A Will allows you to do the following:
Yes, with proper planning. We often incorporate irrevocable trust planning in our Wills. That way we can provide protection for the surviving spouse or heirs. By holding a portion of the estate in a trust that pays income and principal to the heir but retains creditor protection and protection from divorce or other catastrophes.
Also, instead of leaving your assets equally to your spouse or your children outright, why not leave it to your children in “Legacy Trusts” – lifetime irrevocable inheritance trusts. These trusts, if properly drafted, can protect your child’s inheritance from a spouse in the event of divorce; protect your child’s inheritance from creditors in the event of a financial hardship; and upon your child’s death the unused assets can be protected for your grandchildren. A properly drafted trust can create a legacy for generations.