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 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 work on non-probatable assets; thus you can reduce the costs of probating a will 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. Transfer on Death Deeds may also avoid probate. If you have questions, please bring your deed when you see us.
- Other personal property held jointly in survivorship, including bank accounts, stocks, CD’s, etc.
- Personal property accounts transferable or payable upon death.
- Accounts with a designated beneficiary, including insurance policies, IRA’s, and some retirement plans.
- A surviving spouse is entitled to two cars without having to go through probate.
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.