What is a Will?
A Will is only effective when you pass on. It forces you into probate court. It is public record showing who inherits, how they inherit, and how much. The Administrative Office of the Courts tell us that the average administrative time is between 18 and 24 months from the time the Will goes to probate court until the time you can pay the money out.
The Court costs are up to $6,000.00 per person or $12,000.00 per couple and there have been discussions that costs may increase to $9,000.00 per person soon. The average administrative fees are 5-7% and that is what the attorney’s fees normally are. So 7% of $1,000.000.00 would be $70,000.00 in extra fees. There is a probate per state where you own land. If there is a Will Caveat, it is a jury trial and the attorney fees for all attorneys are paid by the estate assets.
If you have a Living Trust based plan and all of your assets are titled in the Trust, and the Trust is properly written and administered, it has the many advantages of avoiding probate court. You can do mental disability planning inside of a Trust, whereby you do not go through court. The Trust’s terms are private as to who receives the inheritance, how they receive it, and how much. It can take weeks to months to administer the Trust as opposed to years to probate the Will. There are no court costs. The administrative fees are 1-2% as opposed to 5-7%.
There is no probate court for out-of-state real estate. If there is a lawsuit, it is ruled on by a judge and each of the parties pay their own attorney fees as opposed to the attorneys being paid out of your probate assets in a Will Caveat lawsuit. It is much harder to break a Trust.
Bare Bones Trusts – versus – Protective Trust Planning
A “Bare Bones Trust” is a short document. This “Bare Bones Trust” may not be effective in another State. There is little to no Protective Planning for the surviving spouse or children and no detailed Mental Disability Planning in a Bare Bones Trust. Bare Bones Trusts are often just an 8-20 page document. They are often created by what are commonly referred to as “Trust Mill Lawyers”. They just “Search and Replace” or plug in the names on a document and crank out the documents. Some Law Firms provide them. Sometimes Banks provide
them (which is the practice of law without a law license, which is a crime in North Carolina). They are found On-line or as a Do It Yourself document.
Also Financial Sales Representatives may sometimes provide them with a statement of “buy an annuity from me and I will get you a Trust”.
A “Customized Protective Estate PlanTM” can skip Probate Court as to the Assets titled in that Trust. Also, it can provide some protection for you and your loved ones in the event of remarriage, lawsuit or Mental Disability. The attorney has to spend time with you asking questions about you and your loved ones. They must know what you value and your goals and concerns. Otherwise they cannot prepare a “Customized Protective Estate PlanTM” that meets you and your loved ones individual needs.
This plan we create should work in other states. Such an Estate Plan can do Mental Disability Planning. It can provide a Panel who will determine if you are mentally able to handle your medical and financial affairs. You can state your preferences for how you want to be cared for if mentally disabled. Do you want to stay home or do you want to choose a particular care facility? Do you want to name a person to choose such a care facility?
The “Customized Protective Estate PlanTM” can provide some protection for the Surviving Spouse. Such protection can include Remarriage Protection for the surviving spouse to limit their being taken advantage of in the event of a remarriage. It can also provide some Car Wreck Lawsuit protection for the surviving spouse.
Such detailed planning can provide some protection for your Adult Children in the event of Divorce, Squander or a Car Wreck Lawsuit.
Further, it can provide additional planning for Special Needs, Addiction and other issues. Often it will have Tax Planning designed within it.
A “Customized Protective Estate PlanTM” must be done with an Experienced and well qualified Estate Planning Attorney. An Attorney who spends the time with you to find out what your particular concerns are and the strengths and weaknesses of your loved ones. The experienced and listening Estate Planning Attorney creates the additional needed protection for you and your loved ones that a “Bare Bones Trust” does not.
NOTE: This is an excerpt from the book, The Legacy You Leave, by Steven Andrew Jackson, Esq. You can buy the book on Amazon or Kindle. Click here for details.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.