If you are married and you die without a Last Will and Testament, you may mistakenly believe that your spouse will still inherit your entire estate. Not so fast. Who will inherit your estate depends on several different factors:
If you’ve set up a Revocable Living Trust, congratulations! You’re definitely on the right track. But…you’re only half way there. Many believe because they took the time to create a Trust, their estate will automatically avoid probate. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security.
Probate can be easily avoided, but most estates are dragged through the process. Why? Many people fail to create an estate plan, so probate is required. And – others plan with just a Will, so probate is required. As a result, assets end up at the mercy of a probate judge, open to public scrutiny, and delayed passing to beneficiaries.
I’m sure you have heard this less than eloquent phrase before – “Garbage in, garbage out.” The phrase is typically used in computer programming and scientific research. Unfortunately, it also applies to the law, legal documents, and writing your own Will.
It will probably cost more initially to set up a well-drafted living trust than to have a will prepared. A true cost comparison should include not only the expense to establish the will or trust, but also what it will cost should you become incapacitated and after you die.