What is the Role of a Will in Modern Estate Planning?
The traditional estate planning document, Wills have been used for centuries to ensure that the property of a deceased individual is distributed according to their wishes. Today, Wills can still be an excellent way to achieve one's testamentary purposes. They can be very simple, or very complex. In some cases, a Will may be used simply to distribute assets among family members, name guardians for minor children, and name a personal representative (or "executor") to administer the estate. In other situations, a will may contain numerous provisions or "testamentary trust" language designed to manage the property in the estate for a wide variety of purposes including: maximizing tax avoidance, management of assets for minor or disabled children, or even supporting charitable causes.
In many cases, however, it makes sense to create a Revocable Living Trust in addition to a Will when designing an estate plan. Some reasons for doing so include:
- You are concerned about predators or the public having access to your private financial and personal information available in the probate process
- You own real property in multiple states (including timeshares)
- You would like a family member or friend to be able to manage your assets for you during your life
- You would like your loved ones to avoid the cost and delay of the Probate courts upon your passing
- You want to avoid paying unnecessary wealth transfer taxes
- You want to protect your loved one's inheritances from creditors, divorce, or lawsuits
A Will must go through the Probate process before it can become effective. And while Probate in Utah is not nearly as horrible a thing as it is in other states, the uncertainty and delay inherent in the bueacracy of our court system can result in much higher costs (both financial and emotional) than would likely be incurred through the use of a trust.
Whether you choose a Will or a Revocable Living Trust as the foundation of your estate plan depends largely upon your unique circumstances and the nature and extent of your property.
From within Utah County and Salt Lake County, our law firm represents estate planning and elder law clients from Alpine, Highland, Lehi, American Fork, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Sandy, Draper, Herriman, South Jordan, Pleasant Grove, Salt Lake City, Lindon, Provo, Orem, Spanish Fork, Payson, Santaquin, and Springville. The Utah Law Firm of Platt Law, P.C. focuses on Utah estate planning, wills, trusts, estates, probate administration, asset protection, Medical Assistance planning, Medicaid planning & eligibility, Veterans Benefits planning, VA Aid and Attendance planning, elder law, business succession planning, family limited partnerships, real estate and transactional law. With years of experience, attorney RobRoy Platt is an experienced estate planning attorney, trust attorney, probate attorney, asset protection attorney, Medicaid attorney, Veterans Benfits attorney, and elder law attorney. Melissa Platt is an experienced business succession attorney, trust attorney, estate planning attorney, and real estate attorney.