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Protect Your Family by Establishing Wills and Trusts

Feb. 1, 2016

As an attorney, I set up wills and trusts on a regular basis. One thing that stands out is how many people visit my office without having established anything. Life can be incredibly busy and this often causes people to forget to take the steps necessary to protect their family. Having a will or creating a trust is one of those critical steps.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you fail to write a will before you die, you will die intestate. That means that there will be no clear directions as to how you want your assets to be divided. Even if you have verbally expressed your wishes to your friends and family, the state will not recognize those verbal commitments. Your heirs need to present a physical will during the probate process. If they cannot, the laws of your state will dictate what to do with your assets. This can pose a significant challenge and open the door to conflict amongst your family. Imagine your daughter and son fighting over who was supposed to inherit the house or which one of them is supposed to get your classic car. These types of battles can tear a family apart because they are highly personal. In most cases, it is not just about the money or the object but about the memories that each person has with you and that object.

Protect your family by preventing conflict.

When you establish wills and trusts, you are protecting your family from the conflict that can arise with a contested estate. You can avoid this by simply preparing a will ahead of time. I can help you to draft a simple will when you invest an hour or so of your time, but the benefits to your family will be long­lasting.

Control what happens to your assets.

Given how hard you work and how hard you have worked, taking the time to establish wills and trusts is the best way to preserve the results of your efforts. It takes a lifetime to accumulate the American Dream and once you have it, you can put it to work for the next generation. That is one of the benefits of planning ahead. Instead of simply giving your money or assets to your heirs, you can structure how it is given. For example, you can set aside money for each of your grandchildren to go to college. You can allocate funds for down payments on houses. You can even put your home and vacation property into a trust and put in provisions that it must remain in the trust, available for use by the family. As long as the trust is funded with the money necessary for paying taxes and utilities, those properties can remain in your family and become part of your lasting legacy. What you have accomplished does not need to die with you. It can continue to provide benefits for future generations. I can show you how when you schedule a consultation to discuss establishing wills and trusts.