Will Based vs. Trust-Based Estate Plans

It is uncomfortable addressing issues of our mortality but doing so is an act of love you show for your family and friends. Dying without a valid will or trust means that the state decides how to divide your property, and the state’s default rules may differ significantly from your desires or the needs of your heirs.

Will Based Estate Plan

The simplest form of an estate plan is a properly executed will and supporting durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney. I can help you put in place a will appointing an executor of the estate responsible for supervising the distribution of your property and assets to your beneficiaries as you direct.

Putting in place a will involves a multi-step process:

Step 1 – Initial Consultation – Establishing your high-level estate planning goals and approach to implement those goals.  

 

Step 2 – Information Gathering – Gathering of information required to draft the documents supporting your estate planning goal. Such information includes a summary of your assets and liabilities, relevant family relationships, a list of personal property you desire to bequeath to specific individuals, and identification of beneficiaries, trustees, and agents required to implement your desires.

 

Step 3 – Document Development – At a minimum, your estate plan will consist of:

  1. Last will and testament;

  2. A durable power of attorney;

  3. A health care power of attorney;

  4. (Optional) For an additional cost, a Personal Financial Plan may be developed and delivered.

 

Step 3 – Document Review – I will provide you with draft documents to review. We will walk through the documents to ensure I captured the goals and directions you established adequately in the documents.  

 

Step 4 – Signing of Documents – After any changes you request are made, I will arrange for the signing of your estate documents. Kentucky law requires a will to be witnessed by two impartial witnesses, and to be self-authenticating, those witness signatures be notarized.

 

Step 5 – Implementation Actions – One of the outputs I will provide you after signing the documents is a checklist of actions you need to take to implement your estate plan fully. Your required actions may include changes in beneficiary designations on insurance, retirement accounts, or pensions, as well as actions to ensure those who will be responsible for your estate plan know where it is stored and what is expected of them.

 

* Document review sessions may be in-person or virtual based on your preference.

Trust-Based Estate Plan

A living trust may be a more appropriate solution to your estate planning needs depending on your situation and desires. A living trust can help your heirs avoid probate and provide a smoother transition of your assets to your intended recipient. Also, unlike a will, a trust is not a public record and remains private and can usually only be viewed by the trustee and direct beneficiaries of the trust.

As the process of putting a will in place, developing a trust appropriate to your needs is a multi-step process:

 

Step 1 – Initial Consultation – Establishing your high-level estate planning goals and approach to implement those goals.  

Step 2 – Information Gathering – Gathering of information required to draft the documents supporting your estate planning goal. Such information includes a summary of your assets and liabilities, relevant family relationships, a delineation of what property will be transferred to the trust, a list of personal property you desire to bequeath to specific individuals, and identification of beneficiaries, trustees, and agents required to implement your desires. The information required to effectuate a trust-based estate plan is usually more extensive than that required for a will.

 

Step 3 – Document Development – At a minimum, your estate plan will consist of:

  1. Revocable living trust;

  2. Certificate of trust;

  3. Pour-over will;

  4. A durable power of attorney;

  5. A health care power of attorney;

  6. (Optional) For an additional cost, a Personal Financial Plan may be developed and delivered.

 

Step 4 – Document Review – – I will provide you with draft documents to review. We will walk through the documents to ensure I captured the goals and directions you established adequately in the documents.* 

Step 5 – Signing of Documents – After any changes requested at the document review are made, I will arrange for the signing of your estate documents. While Kentucky law permits the trust to be established by notarized signature, the law still requires the signatures of two impartial witnesses on the pour-over will.

Step 6 – Implementation Actions and Retitling of assets– Implementing a trust typically requires more actions once the documents are complete than the will. In addition to ensuring beneficiary designations on appropriate insurance, IRAs or pensions are consistent with the trust, the grantor normally places assets into that trust that need to be retitled.

While a living trust is perhaps the most common trust utilized in estate planning, various other trusts may also be appropriate. I can help you identify and put in place family trusts, special needs trusts, charitable remainder trusts, or irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs) if they’re appropriate for your goals and needs. paragraph.

* Document review sessions may be in-person or virtual based on your preference.

Contact me if you want to discuss your estate planning needs. You may book an initial consultation by selecting one of the options below. The Book Consultation link permits you to schedule a 30-minute initial consultation directly. Selecting the Request Callback link permits you to complete a form requesting a call back from my office within two business days.

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(859) 320-1230

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