Thinking about your own mortality or the mortality of a loved one is never a fun prospect, but if you want to make sure that the ones you leave behind will be taken care of, you need to make sure that all of the proper legal steps have been taken to ensure that your affairs are in order. In this entry, we will cover some of the problems that your loved ones might face if you fail to have a will or trust.

If you want to start your estate planning before it is too late, contact us at Safe Harbor Wills and Trusts. We have offices in Watertown and Syracuse and we are always here to help you with any asset protection or elder law emergency. We have dedicated our practice to helping people keep their money when they move into a nursing home or pass away so that it can provide for their beneficiaries instead of putting it into the government’s pocket. Because wills and trusts are the focus of our firm, we are uniquely positioned to offer you the newest and most helpful solutions possible. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you with your estate planning or read on to find out why a trust and a will is so necessary.

The Will

A will is a legal document that tells people what your final wishes are. In addition to naming an executor (the person who is responsible for making sure that the wishes of the deceased are carried out), a will also spells out who will inherit what assets, how any outstanding debts and taxes will be paid, as well as naming guardians if the decedent has children under the age of 18. There are some things that cannot be put into a will, including property that is jointly owned by more than one person or any assets that already have a beneficiary listed (pension plans, 401(k)s, IRAs, etc.)

Without a will, the courts will decide how your property is divided and distributed. This process, called probate, can take months or even longer and might lead to a lot of animosity among family members and friends when people don’t end up getting the things that they wanted or felt entitled to.

A Trust

A trust is a collection of assets that can be set up at any time. In some cases, the assets are still controlled by the person who set up the trust (revocable trusts) but the more common type of trust is the irrevocable trust. In an irrevocable trust, the grantor transfers their assets into the trust. There are several advantages to this, including the fact that assets in a trust don’t have to go through probate and aren’t taxed like other estates. Trusts offer you the ability to determine how the assets will be distributed after your death. For example, if you have younger beneficiaries and you want to make sure that they use the assets responsibly, you can set a condition that says they can only access a certain amount of money per month or year. Even if all of your assets are in a trust, it is still a good idea to have a will. Talk to us at Safe Harbor Wills and Trusts to find out why.

Why Having a Will or Trust Matters

You need to make sure that your assets are going where you want them to because money and property has a way of driving people apart when they need each other most. If you want to make sure that your beneficiaries are taken care of the way you want them to be taken care of, taking the time to spell how how you want your property distributed after your death can prevent a lot of anger and heartache.

Contact us at Safe Harbor Wills and Trusts in Syracuse and Watertown to begin the estate planning process. We know that talking about the future can be frightening but we want to take that stress off of your shoulders. We have the experience that you need to be able to make the best decisions for you and your family, so give us a call today. Our firm specializes in asset protection and elder law emergencies.