Wills and Trusts
We all like to have some control over our lives. Estate planning documents like a will or trust allow you a measure of control even when things get out of control. If you live in the Newport News area and want help putting together a will or trust for your family, contact Kevin Weldon’s office.
When someone comes to Kevin in need of estate planning help often a will and/or a trust are options worth discussing. These documents are all about helping clients reach their goals, whether that’s tax savings, supporting a child or charity or helping a person who’s given you help during your life. He talks to clients about their objectives and goals and where they want their assets to be in the future.
You will find fill in the blank wills and trusts available on the internet but by using them you are running the risk of this document not complying with applicable law, written in a way that will not put your desires into action and your estate could end up being litigated to pull apart the legal mess that’s been caused.
What’s a will and what can it do for you?
A will is an estate planning document that lists what you want done with your assets (after bills, taxes and estate costs are paid) after you pass away. You can also name a guardian for you children, but that would need to be finalized by the court. A will can be as simple or as complex as you want.
Without a will your estate would pass to your next of kin. You may want family members who aren’t your next of kin, friends or charities you support to get a share of your estate. This won’t happen without a will.
Anyone who’s mentally competent at least eighteen years old may make a will. A will may be challenged if there’s evidence of fraud, duress or undue influence by another person on the testator (the person creating the will). The testator’s signature should be witnessed by two competent persons, who also must sign the will in front of the testator. Having the will notarized should make the probate process simpler.
The will is valid until you revoke it, either by physically destroying it or creating a superseding will or a written revocation. It doesn’t take effect until you die and it can be changed at any time as long as it’s done properly and you’re mentally competent, not under duress or undue influence or being defrauded by another.
What’s a trust and what can it do for me?
A trust is a legal document which creates an arrangement where something of value is used for the benefit of a person, group of people or organization. A person (the grantor) sets aside some asset, a trustee is named to manage the asset and to spend it, or income derived from it, in accordance with the grantor’s instructions.
The trust can be revocable (it can be changed) or irrevocable (it can’t be changed). It can be funded during your life or funded by the assets of your estate, through your will, after you die. There are a wide range of situations where a trust may be helpful, including structuring your assets so you can benefit from them while qualifying for Medicaid for purposes of long term care.
Get help with your will or trust
Kevin Weldon can help you and your family with your estate planning needs, including creating a will or trust. If you live in the Newport News area and have any questions or want these documents created, call us at 757-214-1371.