Wills & Estate Planning
If you are in need of a will or estate planning, let Atty. Raymond W. Ganim assist you. Atty. Ganim’s years of experience in drafting wills and planning estates have taught him that no two people are alike. And no two estates are alike. Everyone has unique estate planning needs. Atty. Ganim will patiently listen to your specific requirements because your will and estate planning should cater to your very specific needs. Please give us a call today at 203-377-7700.
A will should contain the following information:
- How debts should be paid off
- How the deceased’s property should be distributed
- How minor children should be provided for
- What will happen to the deceased’s business, if he or she owns one
- How the deceased’s funeral and other arrangements should be handled
- Name and addresses of beneficiaries
- How assets are to be divided
- Who has been chosen as an Executor
If you would like to draft your own will, our lawyers at Ganim Law, P.C. can assist you. Please give us a call today at 203-377-7700.
Probating a Will
In order for a will to be probated, a probate petition has to be filed with the court. A legal hearing will be held within two months of the petition being filed. This will determine how the deceased’s property should be divided. Probate is generally a long and expensive process.
Probating the will allows the family of the deceased to:
- Identify and appraise the deceased’s property so that it can be distributed properly.
- Pay off taxes and debts that are owed to creditors.
- Distribute life insurance and retirement accounts.
- Transfer/Liquidation of Assets that may be in the name of the deceased party such as bank accounts, real estate, motor vehicles, stocks/bonds, etc.
- Distribution of Life Insurance and Retirement Accounts
If you would like to avoid probate, you should create a living trust in addition to your will. Please see below.
Types of Trusts
If you do not want to create a will, but you want to make your intentions with your assets and debts clear upon your death, you can create a trust instead. There are many different types of trusts, and they can serve valuable purposes, such as making arrangements for what should happen to you if you become incapacitated, avoiding taxes, providing provisions for minor children upon your death, and more.
A living trust is exactly that…a trust created while the person drafting it (the settlor or grantor) is still alive. Living trusts are usually revocable – meaning that the person drafting it (the settlor or grantor) can change or cancel the trust before his or her death. The person drafting the living trust (the settlor or grantor) can also appoint himself or herself as the first trustee (the person managing the trust’s assets). As such, the person drafting it (the settlor or grantor) can remain in control of the trust assets as long as he or she is alive and competent.
Living trusts are used as a mechanism to transfer the settlor or grantor’s home to relatives, while still living there until death. To do so, he or she must transfer the home into the trust and name the relatives as the beneficiaries. The trust then becomes the home’s owner, not the settlor. Upon the settlor’s death, the trust’s assets and home transfer to the beneficiaries as determined ahead of time in the trust without going through the probate process.
Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts
There are two major types of trusts – revocable and irrevocable trusts. The major difference between these types of trusts is that a revocable trust can be changed or even entirely destroyed if the person that made the trust determines that this is in his or her best interest, while an irrevocable trust cannot be altered or changed in any way once it is created. Both of these options have their pros and cons.
- The ability to change the trust as circumstances in your life change.
- Most Revocable Trusts avoid Probate, saving your loved ones time and money.
- Lack of Protection for your assets. Assets put into a living trust are subject to collectors trying to collect a debt.
- Revocable Trusts will convert to Irrevocable Trusts upon death.
- Any assets placed inside an irrevocable trust will be protected from debt collectors and will not be subject to debt collection processes.
- Probate is rarely used to distribute assets in irrevocable trusts upon the death of the person who made the trust.
- Nothing can be added or withdrawn from an irrevocable trust once it is created.
- Creating an irrevocable trust can be expensive.
If you are considering creating a trust for yourself and your property, you should consult a probate lawyer to determine which type of trust is right for you.
If you are looking for a more detailed way to manage your assets and debt, you might be interested in creating an estate plan. If you own any of the following properties or assets, creating an estate plan is in your best interest:
- Bank Account
- Real Estate
- Personal Property
- Life Insurance Policy
An estate plan will give a detailed overview of your debts, your assets, and your desires upon your death. This can help your loved ones process your property and wishes in the most efficient way possible. Other benefits of creating an estate plan include:
- Minimizing the taxes that your surviving loved ones have to deal with.
- Helping your family understand what should happen to your debt.
- Quickly distribute your property to your chosen beneficiaries and heirs.
- Determining what you want to happen should you suddenly become incapacitated.
- Avoiding the time, stress, and money involved with the probate process.
There are many options that you have when it comes to protecting and helping your loved ones upon your death. You can create a will, a trust, an estate plan, or a combination of these options to ensure that your wishes are carried out when you can no longer carry them out yourself. It is never too early to make these decisions! If you are interested in creating or revising one of these documents, please contact our office today. Our attorneys at Ganim Law have experience with probate law, and we can help you make the tough decisions. Contact Atty. Raymond Ganim today today at 203-377-7700 for help creating or carrying out one of these legal documents.
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