To kick-off the national “Make a Will” month of August, we focus on the question we often hear as estate planning lawyers: “Why do I need a Will?” Most people have heard about a Will, but few really understand its limitations and benefits. It is definitely not the best idea for every person, but knowing what it can and cannot do will help you decide the best route for you.
Why you Need a Will
- Pass your assets per your wishes, through probate court. This includes specific bequests such as a wedding ring.
- Relatively inexpensive. A Will is more cost effective than a Trust as it requires less labor for an attorney to draft. However, the costs associated with probating the estate will add up.
- Name preferred guardianship for your minor children which the Court will strongly consider in balancing the “best interests of the child.”
- Create a trust through your will. This is called a testamentary trust and it is created at death. It can be somewhat cumbersome to manage as the trust administration involves the Probate Court.
What a Will Won't Do
- Avoid probate. While the Will passes your assets per your wishes, the assets must still “go through” the probate process first.
- Provide any privacy. Probate court is public record
- Avoid estate taxes.
Lori Vella is an Estate Planning and Business Attorney. She works virtually throughout Florida and New York, but has her home office in Tampa, Florida. She is mom to a little boy which ignited the passion for helping other families. She and her son enjoy car rides, playgrounds and taking mini-adventures. They also have an organic garden that surprisingly yields vegetables. Lori considers herself well-versed in Seinfeld and welcomes any trivia!
Disclaimer: The Law Office of Lori Vella’s website contains general information directed to Florida residents. This firm does not intend to give legal advice through its pages and/or blog. If you need legal advice, we encourage you to find an attorney licensed in your state. This language on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and this firm.