I often come across clients who come into my office and immediately tell me what they need. They say, “I just need a simple Will, nothing fancy, I don’t have much,” or “My estate’s not complicated; I only have my two adult kids, and they know what to do if I go, but I just want a quick, easy Will to make sure.” I am always glad when this happens because it strongly indicates that the client has given it some thought and probably knows what they want to happen. However, a lot of times, they need to be educated about the different tools available to them and which ones they need to achieve what they’re asking for. Contact Biedak & Finlay Law
When you go online, you can read about different types of Wills and their advantages and disadvantages. In truth, it seems to cause more confusion to people as the type of the will is not nearly as important as its content.
These days, in modern estate planning progress, Will are used every day, but also in tandem with a Revocable Trust. When this happens, it’s called a pour-over will, and most of my clients with kids and extended family will end up in an estate plan like this. The Will pours over all of the assets into the trust. The trust, being a private document, allows the Trustee to dispose of the property privately and without court intervention.
A stand-alone Will must go through the court system to be ‘active’ or valid. It has to have court approval and be processed. This is what many people want to avoid with their loved ones. However, there are several circumstances where all that is needed is a “Will Simple” of perhaps some of the other inventory outlined below.
– Basic Will – Basic Wills cover assigning an executor, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and naming guardians for minor children. It’s the simplest and least expensive option. An essential will allow you to name beneficiaries for your assets and appoint an executor to carry out your wishes after you pass away. This lets you determine who gets what and avoids potential disputes over your estate. However, this still needs to be admitted into court.
– Testamentary Trust Will – Testamentary trust will create a belief within the will that provides instructions for distributing assets to beneficiaries over time. It can help leave money to minor children or heirs with special needs. However, more often than not, this Will also would need to be “probated” or run through the court system.
– Pour-over Will – Pour-over wills are used with a revocable living trust. It allows any assets not already transferred to the confidence to be “poured over” into it upon death. However, suppose your attorney sets up your revocable trust whereby all of your assets are incorporated into the faith, and all after-acquired property, and you are consistent with updating your Schedule of Assets. In that case, the Pour-over Will often never needs to be ‘probated.’ Even when the acquired property (from the date of the Trust) is not incorporated into the Trust, this type of Will is usually set up so the Personal Representative (Executor) is set up with a significant amount of ease. The Will is probated, and the petitioner is to be unsupervised to move the asset(s) over to the trust and then, once more, handle it privately and without court supervision.
– Holographic Will – Holographic wills are handwritten wills. It’s a bad idea for someone to do this, especially in Massachusetts. In minimal cases, these might pass muster with the court if adequately executed and surrounded by perfect circumstances. Still, it’s better if people get the idea that these will be considered invalid because they usually are.
– International Will – International will meet the requirements of the Hague Convention on international wills for distributing assets in other countries. This situation is where a person might be a dual citizen and own property in multiple countries. It is not that uncommon. However, there are exceptional execution requirements and the use of an Apostille (international notary). It is best to engage a lawyer if this is something you’re interested in.
The proper choice of Will depends on your wishes and estate planning needs. Consult our experienced estate planning attorney in your region (Plymouth County & Bristol County), Robert Finlay, Esq., to create or update your will.