I’d like to take a moment and share an experience I recently had while meeting with a mother and her son. The mother has always had a Last Will and never wanted to have a trust. Despite all the explanation of how beneficial a trust would be for her and her family, she chose not to have one. Thus, we assisted in the creation of her Last Will and helped her to complete additional paperwork that would transfer assets to her beneficiaries upon her passing without having to go through the strenuous probate process.
An inherent problem with a Last Will and other non-probate transfers, such as listing beneficiaries on bank accounts or life insurance policies, is that the funds will transfer outright to the beneficiary. You might ask, “What could possibly be wrong with that?! That’s who I want to receive the money! Shouldn’t they receive it outright?” The answer is yes… and no. While you may want them to receive the funds, you may not like how and when the funds are received.
For example, my client wanted her three children to receive equal shares of her property, free of probate. She listed beneficiaries and structured her estate the best she could. Recently she decided that one of her sons is no longer capable of managing his inheritance. She wanted to know if she could control how, when, and what he was to receive.
She was surprise to learn that exercising this type of control, with here Last Will, generally comes with a price – the estate would have to go through probate. Needless to say, she was not pleased that the cost would be steep, not only in money, but in time, grief and with publicity. The only way to exercise the control she wanted and avoid probate was to create a trust. Ultimately, after we carefully explained all the alternatives and ramifications, she decided to do just that.
Like many new clients, the mother told us that she thought she wasn’t “wealthy” enough to own a trust, so she only kept a Last Will. A trust does so much more than help the “wealthy.” In fact, wealth is only one of several factors we look at when determining if you should create a trust. Control is one of the main factors to consider and if you have beneficiaries that will need care, assistance, time, and/or oversight, then a trust might be the right tool for you. Typically, a Last Will simply isn’t enough.
Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall? First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters. Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones. We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership. If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.