When you begin thinking about the future, wills and trusts should be at the top of your to-do list.
Many people don’t think about wills, trusts, and other estate documents until it’s too late. Don’t make that mistake. A Slater & Zurz wills and trusts lawyer in Cleveland, OH, can guide you in creating your ideal estate plan.
Estate plans are critical to protect your assets in the future and ensure that your intentions are understood and respected.
An estate plan allows you to plan for the future by making arrangements for after your death or if you become incapacitated. An estate plan is fully customizable and tailored to your specific wants, needs, and goals. No two estate plans are the same.
Wills and trusts are both significant pieces of an estate plan. Together, they can make you feel secure about the future.
While many people believe there’s only one type of will, there are, in fact, several different types of wills, each serving its own purpose. An attorney for wills and trusts in Cleveland can create your will, based on your needs. The main kinds of wills are detailed below.
A last will and testament, also known simply as a will, has one main goal: to set forth how you would like your property distributed upon your death. Wills can include other details, depending on your needs, like who you would like to care for your children or pets upon your passing.
You’ll also have the opportunity to appoint an executor, or personal representative, for your estate. Your personal representative is the individual responsible for handling your estate after your death. You can name one and others as backups or choose to have co-representatives.
Many confuse a living will with a regular will, but the two serve different purposes.
A living will, also referred to as an advanced healthcare directive, allows you to document your wishes for end-of-life medical care should you reach the point where you cannot make decisions for yourself. This type of will has no effect after you’ve passed.
Living wills are similar to another estate planning document called a healthcare power of attorney. Both documents help make decisions for you if you’re incapacitated and unable to decide.
However, there’s one key difference: Your living will provides pre-made decisions for what you would want to be done in certain medical scenarios, while a Healthcare Power of Attorney appoints an agent to weigh the options and make decisions for you themselves.
A living will is one of the most important parts of a solid estate plan.
Like wills, trusts are also crucial for a complete estate plan.
A trust is a legal document creating a fiduciary agreement and allowing a third party (trustee) of your choice to hold and maintain assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries.
There are many kinds of trusts, including the ones listed below. You can have one or more, depending on your needs. A Cleveland wills and trusts lawyer can guide you in your decision-making to choose the best trust for you.
A living trust is a legal document that allows you to direct how you’d like your assets to be distributed and to whom they can be distributed after your passing. Living trusts can either be revocable or irrevocable.
A revocable living trust allows you to create the trust and make modifications if needed, giving you, the grantor, control over your assets and the flexibility to make changes. Along with making changes, you can also revoke the trust altogether. Revocable living trusts are one of the most popular trusts.
Many individuals who choose a revocable living trust also create a pour-over will. A pour-over will works together with your revocable living trust. It becomes necessary in the event that you do not completely or properly fund your trust.
An irrevocable trust cannot be modified or revoked. Additionally, grantors lose control of their assets once they’re placed in the trust.
A lawyer for wills and trusts can explain these options in-depth and help you decide which may be best for you.
A testamentary trust works together with your last will and testament, as it’s created within your will.
A testamentary trust distributes your assets after your death. However, unlike other types of wills, it is not created until you’ve passed. Your death triggers the creation of a testamentary trust, with the instructions for asset distribution and beneficiaries detailed in your will.
Having an estate plan with wills and trusts is beneficial not only for you but for your loved ones. Some of the biggest benefits of having an estate plan include the following:
Your wishes may never be known if you pass away without an estate plan. Having an estate plan details your goals after you’ve passed and allows you to make a plan if you cannot make decisions for yourself.
When you pass away without an estate plan, your estate goes through probate, and your property and assets are distributed at a judge’s discretion. Creating an estate plan helps ensure that your beneficiaries are protected and get what they deserve.
Many estates must go through the probate process to distribute all property and assets and complete necessary tasks. However, you may bypass probate altogether if you have a full estate plan.
The death of a loved one is always emotional, but adding in dealing with their estate can heighten emotions even further. Having an estate plan can help avoid bickering between family members because you’ve already laid out your wishes for them to follow.
The pros always outweigh the cons when you have an estate plan. An attorney for wills and trusts in Cleveland can guide you through creating your ideal estate plan.
Creating an estate plan with wills and trusts can be confusing and stressful. It can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the laws and procedures. A lawyer for wills and trusts has the knowledge and experience to assist you.
You can trust your wills and trusts lawyer to:
- Ask the right questions to understand your goals and wishes better
- Make recommendations for your estate plan
- Draft the required wills and trusts documents
- Help you execute your estate planning documents
- Walk you through funding your trust
- Assist you with making critical decisions for your future
- Update your estate planning documents when needed
An attorney can give you invaluable peace of mind while you take a big step toward your future.
Slater & Zurz has been helping clients with their wills and trust needs for over 30 years.
We’re proud to take the time to get to know every one of our clients to make sure that we’re giving them the best legal advice and creating an estate plan that perfectly fits their needs. Our lawyers employ their skills and attention to detail in every estate plan.
Finding a good attorney is one of the first steps in getting your trust and estate plan done.
An online search for a Cleveland wills and trusts lawyer could yield favorable results. Always pay attention to the law firm’s website, and look for key information, including:
- The lawyer’s background and experience
- Client reviews
- Other beneficial information
If you feel confident with what you see, contact the firm right away to schedule a consultation.