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While it may sound daunting, estate planning is simply the process of determining what happens to your hard-earned money and other assets when you pass away. Many individuals think of estate planning as something to do later in life after they've accumulated significant assets, but the truth is that most people could benefit from an estate planning review. If you have children, own real estate, or have retirement assets, it's worth exploring this part of your financial plan to avoid costly mistakes down the road.
At Greenbird Advisors, we can support you through the estate planning process and provide resources to help you make informed decisions. We can provide referrals to outside estate planning professionals if you are not already working with one. If you already work with an estate attorney, we will coordinate with them on your plan.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What's a will?
A will is a document that contains a set of instructions that specifies your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children upon death. If you die without a will or other declaration, the state determines how your property is distributed and, oftentimes, it does not distribute your property in a way that you'd prefer. A will typically makes probate, the legal process of settling a person’s estate, cheaper and more straightforward.
What's a trust, and how is this different than a will?
A trust is another method of transferring an estate. It is a legal entity in which your property is held for the benefit of a third party. The key feature of a trust is that it passes property and assets outside of probate court, meaning you do not have to go through the probate process and, therefore, you save on court and attorney fees. A trust can allow the spouse to use the assets while he or she is alive and then pass them on to the children after the spouse’s death.
There are two primary types of trusts: living and testamentary. A living trust is established while the property owner is alive, while a testamentary trust is established after death through a last will.
What's the difference between revocable and irrevocable?
A revocable trust is a trust that can be changed at any time. The grantor can make simple changes, such as changing beneficiary appointments, or go as far as undoing the entire trust if desired. An irrevocable trust is the opposite - it can't be changed by the grantor after the trust is established and funded.
If I have a trust, do I need a will?
An established trust does not necessarily eliminate the need for a will. Most trusts do not cover all assets in the estate. Having a will can help ensure all assets and property are covered.