Will and Probate Attorney in Shepherdsville, Kentucky
Estate planning plays a crucial role in protecting our loved ones. Ensuring that our loved ones, such as a spouse, children, grandchildren, and siblings, are taken care of after our passing requires a careful estate plan. Drafting a will can help protect the most important people in our lives. However, there are many questions and factors to drafting a will, so a skilled attorney can help guide you to those answers. At our firm, we work diligently as we serve those through Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and the surrounding areas of Louisville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, and Radcliff, as you make a plan to protect your loved ones after your passing. No matter how old you are or where you’re at in life, it’s essential that you begin planning.
What Is a Will?
In essence, a “will” refers to a legal document that states a person’s plans and intentions regarding the funeral, burial, distribution of assets, and debt management after their passing. A will is a legally binding document that states the beneficiaries or recipients of an individual’s estate. Having a will helps you feel confident that your plans are respected and followed.
Types of Wills
There are nine different types of wills commonly used. While they all share the same common traits, their specific features help individuals better plan their estate.
Living will. This will type makes specific end-of-life arrangements such as long-term medical care. Please note this type of will is state-specific as terms vary across states.
Testamentary will. This type refers specifically to asset distribution. It’s a good choice to ensure asset distribution before death, such as during terminal illness.
Pour-over will. In this type, any assets that aren’t distributed to a beneficiary go into a trust. Don’t use this will if all assets go directly into a trust.
Simple will. “Simple,” meaning there are no complex clauses or specifications. These wills name guardians for minor children and an executor for the estate.
Joint will. Refers to the type in which two or more people designate their asset distribution, such as married couples.
Deathbed will. This will is drafted on a person’s deathbed when there is no estate plan in place. This type is not the most advisable since the person’s estate may be considerable.
Online will. This type allows individuals to write their will online without any complex processes. However, the lack of legal counsel may create problems later on.
Holographic will. These will types are not commonly used anymore. Only a handful of estates still recognize them. They are used in extreme, life-threatening situations.
Nuncupative wills. These refer to spoken wills. Not every state recognizes them since wills must be written in order to be valid.
What Does a Will or Estate Plan Contain?
Here is an overview of what a will or estate plan should contain:
Executor. This person carried out the instructions in the will. An executor is usually either an estate planning attorney, a trusted relative, or a friend.
Guardianship. Parents can name the person or people appointed to care for minor children.
Assets. Property, investments, and cash distributed to beneficiaries.
Real estate. This specifically refers to land, houses, and buildings. Depending on the circumstances, it may be best to assign property to a trust instead of individuals.
Final arrangements. These instructions include end-of-life arrangements, funeral, burial plans, and any other clauses such as end-of-life decisions.
What Are Commonly Inherited Assets?
Commonly inherited assets include cash (bank accounts), property, vehicles, jewelry, investments (i.e., stocks), and personal items. However, creditors must be paid first. Leftover assets are then distributed to beneficiaries.
Who Needs a Will?
Virtually everyone needs a will. Drafting a will is important to ensure that one’s last wishes are respected. Having a will protects loved ones by ensuring they receive the material elements they need. Dying intestate or without a will generally requires probate or going to court before beneficiaries can legally possess estate assets, and dying intestate or failing to seek legal counsel may leave the door open to issues requiring complicated probate procedures.
What Is Probate?
When a person dies intestate, the individual’s estate goes to probate. At that point, the state (through a judge) decides who gets what. In this scenario, there is no guarantee that all loved ones receive their fair share of the asset distribution.
What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?
A will and a trust are generally the same. However, there are some key differences:
A will comes into effect upon a person’s passing. A trust comes into effect upon signing.
A will is public, whereas a trust is not.
Trusts allow individuals to issue instructions before their death, such as in case of terminal illness or long-term incapacitation.