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Last Will and TestamentAugust is Nation Will Month.  Most people don’t understand the need for estate planning.  You can work with a qualified estate planning attorney to make sure that your assets pass to who you wish at the time of your death.  Or, you can let state law and state courts make those decisions for you.  Whether you decide on a Will or a Living Trust, clients usually prefer to make important family wealth transfer decisions without government interference.  

Surprising fact, almost 2/3 of people in the United States die without having any planning in place.  Even Prince, the brilliant musician with an estate of over $100 million failed to have a basic will to dispose of his assets.  A will is a document where you identify your property and select who will receive it upon your death.  You can divide your property evenly among your children, establish trusts for your grandchildren or irresponsible children as well as many other options.  

In your Will you can also establish pet trusts to care for our furry loved ones after we are gone.  In most families I have counseled, pets are beloved family members.  With a pet trust included in your Will, you can select the person to care for your pets and leave them funds to cover the expenses so that your pets can enjoy their lives.  Your fur babies are sure to miss you but at least they will be well cared for by family or friends you select!

Speaking of pets as members of the family, we should also address the minor children we leave behind when our time comes.  Often parents’ answer to this issue is that “if I die, my spouse  will raise the kids.” Unfortunately, this answer doesn’t help when both parents die in a car accident or while on a trip without the kids.  Have no fear, the Court will appoint someone to raise your kids and manage the money that you leave for their care.  While a court may try to select the best person or family to raise your children, you can probably make better decisions for your own family.  

The downside of having a Will is that your estate will have to go through the probate process which can take between 9 and 12 months and can cost thousands of dollars in attorneys fees. However, this can be eliminated or minimized by forming a living trust.  Speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney at Ourednik Law Offices for advice on which is the best option for you and your family.