The Essentials of Estate Planning with Wills and Revocable Trusts

For most people, putting together an estate plan will involve preparing a will and a revocable trust—perhaps along with a few healthcare planning documents. Wills and revocable trusts are powerful and flexible estate planning tools that work together to ensure that individuals have full control over what will happen in the event of their death or incapacity.

5 Essentials of Estate Planning with Wills and Revocable Trusts

Why are wills and revocable trusts so indispensable? Here are five reasons why our lawyers recommend incorporating both of these documents into most people’s estate plans:

1. Appointing a Personal Representative and Trustee

When you die, someone will need to manage your final affairs. This person is referred to as your personal representative. When you prepare a will, you get to designate your personal representative (and a backup). If you don’t have a will, your family will need to deal with appointing a personal representative through the probate process.

Forming a revocable trust allows you to keep your assets out of probate—which reduces the time and costs involved for your family. When you form a revocable trust, you will choose a trustee (and a backup) who will be responsible for administering the trust in accordance with your wishes.

2. Naming Your Heirs and Beneficiaries

When you form a will and revocable trust, you also get to name your heirs and beneficiaries. These are the people (or charitable organizations, foundations or other entities) that will receive a portion of your assets after your death. If you die without an estate plan, your assets will instead be distributed according to your state’s intestate succession law.

3. Distributing Your Assets According to Your Desires

In addition to naming your heirs and beneficiaries, when you form a will and revocable trust, you also get to decide how your assets will be distributed. Intestate succession laws simply apportion certain percentages to certain family members, and then it is up to them to decide who gets what. This often leads to disputes, and it rarely results in an outcome that anyone truly desires.

4. Minimizing Unnecessary Court Costs and Taxes

Preparing an estate plan minimizes the costs of probate administration. With careful planning, it is also possible to significantly reduce your estate’s (or your loved one’s) tax liability in many cases.

5. Planning for Your Healthcare and Your Children’s Future

Finally, along with addressing issues related to the distribution of your estate, preparing a will and revocable trust also allows you to plan for your healthcare and your children’s future. This can take substantial burdens off of your family, and it can give you the peace of mind of knowing what will happen when you are no longer able to make decisions on your own.

Schedule an Initial Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer Today

Are you thinking about putting together an estate plan? If so, we encourage you to contact us for more information. To speak with an estate planning lawyer at Rendigs in confidence, please call 513-381-9200 or tell us how we can reach you online today.