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There is Nothing “Simple” about a Simple Will

A “simple” will is exactly what it sounds like – a stripped down version of a Last Will and Testament. A simple will is a form that allows the testator (the person making out the will) to simply fill in the blanks, leaving instructions on how to administer their estate after their death.

Though a simple will can be made without the advice of an attorney, one does so at their own risk. State laws may affect the distribution of your assets, even if you do not have a complex estate. Only an attorney well versed in estate law can advise you on the best type of will to use, and what to include. Drafting a simple will may quick, easy and affordable for you but it may be costly to your survivors in terms of time and money. Here is why:

Upon a person’s death Probate will generally be required to pass assets to the heirs of the deceased person. In essence, Probate involves the initiation of a lawsuit in the Probate Court for the county in which the decedent resided at the time of their death. A Judge is appointed to the case and the laws of the state dictate how and when assets are collected and distributed to heirs and / or creditors. This process can be long and drawn out and it is a matter of public record. In addition, the costs and fees associated with Probate (filing fees, publication fees, attorney’s fees and personal representative fees) can be considerable. Most people involved in the Probate process have had unpleasant experiences.

The probate process can place a great deal of emotional stress on people who have just experienced the loss of a loved one. Avoiding probate can be done by setting up a Revocable Trust, which allows the Client to name who he or she wants to administer the trust assets in the event the Client becomes disabled and can no longer manage and control the trust property. Without a Revocable Trust, a guardian or conservator would have to be appointed by the local probate court to manage the Client’s property. The expense, delay and restrictions of court supervised conservatorship are avoided when assets are held in a Revocable Trust. A Revocable Trust is not required to be filed with any court and because the administration of the Revocable Trust need not be reported to any supervising authority, use of a Revocable Trust avoids undesired publicity.

This is a very simple overview; each person’s/family’s situation is different which requires that an attorney well-versed in Revocable Trusts help with the creation and funding of your trust to help you achieve your desired outcome.

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