Do you have a Will? If so, that is good and bad. If not that is bad. Do you have a Trust? If so you score 100! As stated above, if you have a will, that is good, because you have determined who gets your assets upon death. If you dont have a will the State determines who will get your assets upon death. What is a will? Simply stated a will is a legal document where you name the people that will receive your assets upon your death. Whether you have a will or not, you have a ticket to the Probate Court. If you have a will, the Court will approve it, if not contested,and issue Letters of Testamentary. The person that you have named as the executor will then be authorized to dispose of your assets in accordance with the will. If you do not have a will, the Court will determine who your heirs are and order distribution to them. Depending upon the complexity of your estate, Probate can be quite expensive, not only as to money, but as to delay in finalizing your estate. If your estate does not have many assets and is not complex, the cost of probate can run between $ 800 to $ 1,500. If you estate is complex, the cost can run $ 5,000 or more. So what is the solution? As stated above, if you have a trust you score 100. What is a trust and what are the benefits? A trust, similar to a will, names your beneficiaries that will receive your assets upon your death. But it is much more. While you are alive you can determine who is to get your assets and more importantly when they will receive them. You can require that the estate stay intact, with income payableto your spouse, children and even grandchildren when they need it. Or you can have the estate distributed upon your death. If you have a child or grandchild that is not financially smart, you can hold the assets in trust and prevent him or her from squandering the money. If you have a disabled child or grandchild the money can stay in trust for his or her benefit. In otherwords, youcan control your estate from the grave. With a trust, there is no need for probate. Your spouse and childrens life style does not change. They will have immediate access to your estate. The trust is private. Probate is a publicrecord. If you would like more information or would like to discuss the above in more detail, give me a call and set up an appointment to learn more. Kenneth Burford, Certified Public Accountant, Attorney at Law.


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