Why a Will Is Not Enough


Estate Planning, Must Have Documents, Trust, Will


November 21, 2019

I get asked all the time “If I have a will, why do I need anything else?” So, I want to take this time to tell you why a will is not enough.

A will goes into effect only when you die. In the event that you are merely incapacitated, a will won’t help you one bit.First, let’s establish what a will does. A will indicates how you want certain assets and possessions to be passed on to your loved ones after your death. A will states who is to inherit what upon your death. A will can prevent any disputes among your heirs. A will can also stipulate who will become the legal guardian of your children in the event that both parents perish. A will certainly has its place in your must-have documents file.

In fact, even if you have never created a will, the state you live in has already created one for you. If you die without a will, your property is subject to what is known as intestate succession. That means your property is disbursed according to the intestate laws of your state. It’s a cut-and-dried set of inheritance rules. But, I doubt you really want your assets to be handed out according to impersonal state laws.

Now, why do I say a will is not enough?

- A will goes into effect only when you die. In the event that you are merely incapacitated, a will won’t help you one bit.

- When you die with only a will, it does not make it easy to pass assets to your heirs. A will must be authenticated by a judge before it is considered valid. This happens via a court procedure called probate. The probate process takes time and money.

So, in addition to a will, you need a revocable trust with an incapacity clause to better protect your family. Of all the must-have documents, a living revocable trust is the most powerful. If set up correctly, it can take care of everything that your will doesn’t cover. Plus, it will save your loved ones the headache and cost of going through probate

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