What is Estate Planning?

Many people assume that as long as they have a will, that upon their death, their assets will be disbursed according to their wishes. This isn’t always the case. Although a will can specify how an individual’s minor children and property should be handled, it does not cover everything. That, and estate plans (and trusts) are designed to be much more specific.

For example, if Jane wants to leave $100,000 to her granddaughter, Jill, a will could specify who the funds go to. A trust, however, can take that one step further. The trust could specify that if Jill goes to college, she’d receive up to $15,000 per year, for 4 years, to be used toward tuition, room and board, adding that the remaining funds could only be used toward the down payment of a house.  Choosing a trust versus a will can give Jane peace of mind in knowing her teenage granddaughter wouldn’t spend her inheritance frivolously.

Establishing a trust not only allows for greater specificity, it also ensures your estate will not wind up in probate. If you die only having a will, your family may need to go through a court process to gain the right to follow out the wishes that have been outlined in your will. Probate is not only time-consuming, it’s costly. Another downfall of probate is that since everything needs to be filed with the court, the documents are public. As such, any document that’s filed with the court can be accessed by anyone.

Other things to know about trusts

When you establish a trust, you’ll need to appoint an executor. Your executor will be responsible for overseeing (and locating) all of your assets and managing them according to your wishes. Your assets can include anything you’d like to add to your trust, such as stocks, bonds, bank accounts, jewelry, heirlooms, real property and other items of value.

Have questions? Call Hughes, Snell & Co. today to learn more

If you have questions about the benefit of creating an estate plan, or you’d like to learn more about living trusts, revocable living trusts, medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney and/or the benefits of avoiding probate, we’re here to help. Call Hughes Snell & Co. today at 239-939-2233 to schedule an appointment with an experienced financial advisor you can trust. We’re open Monday through Friday, 8:30am-5pm, weekends and holidays excluded.