Wills Can Be An Important Part Of Your Estate Plan
A will is the most important estate planning tool.
Without a will, your estate may be distributed to relatives through a confusing and sometimes mind-boggling set of rules called Descent and Distribution.
A will does the following for you:
- Allows you to distribute your estate in the manner in which you see fit, subject to statutory rules which restrict excluding your spouse from a will.
- Allows your executor to serve without obtaining a costly bond.
- Allows your executor to sell real estate without Court order in most circumstances.
A will does not apply to non-probatable assets; thus you can reduce the costs of probating a will, or avoid probate entirely, by creating non-probatable assets, including:
- Real estate held jointly and in survivorship with another. It is not enough to have both names on the deed – it must be in survivorship. If you have questions, please bring your deed when you see us.
- Transfer on Death Deeds may also avoid probate by transferring real estate to a loved one only upon your passing, and you can revoke the TOD at any time prior to your passing.
- Other personal property held jointly in survivorship, including bank accounts, stocks, CD’s, etc.
- Financial accounts transferable or payable upon death.
- Accounts with a designated beneficiary, including insurance policies, IRA’s, and some retirement plans.
- A surviving spouse can transfer up to $65,000 in motor vehicles without an attorney, without going through probate or without fuss. Motor vehicles can also be transferred at TOD with forms at your local Title Department.
Please note that each of these options may create their own risks, so a consultation is necessary.
What should I bring in for a consultation on a will?
- Names of children, stepchildren or other beneficiaries.
- Copies of deeds for your real estate.
- Copies of bank statements or other financial accounts showing who has the title.
- If your children are under 18, the name of the person you want to be designated as guardian and as trustee for their inheritance should you predecease them.
A will can be an essential part of your estate plan. Even a simple will requires an experienced attorney to draft. Contact the experienced wills and estate planning lawyers at Smith & Miller, Attorneys at Law to discuss your options.
Contact Our Office
To schedule a consultation with our attorneys contact us online or reach out to us at 440-576-9155 to schedule an appointment. Our Jefferson office is conveniently located right across the street from the Ashtabula County Courthouse.