Estate planning is intended to help you protect yourself and your possessions and transfer your wealth to the appropriate persons at the appropriate time. Wills and trusts are essential instruments for accomplishing those goals. At Skabelund Wirig & Loos, we provide reliable will and trust services tailored to your specific circumstances. Because it is never too soon to put protections in place for yourself and your loved ones, our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys are ready to listen and advise you on these important services.
A will allows you to express your affection for your loved ones and to decide how your wealth can best be used after your passing. If you don’t have a will, your final thoughts go unspoken, and the state decides who gets your property. Our knowledgeable lawyers can draft a will according to your wishes, making sure it meets all the formalities to be valid in a court of law.
With the advent of the internet, many people have attempted to self-execute a will with downloaded forms. The results are hit and miss, and a testator’s “rookie” mistakes often render a will invalid in whole or in part. Common mistakes include:
We are happy to review self-executed wills to cure any defects. We are also happy to review a will you may have executed a few years ago. It is a good practice to review a will every three years or so, to update its terms based on changes in your circumstances.
Besides your last will and testament, you may also have heard of a living will. Also called an advance directive, a living will allows you to state the range of lifesaving medical interventions you are comfortable with at your stage in life.
Although wills are relatively simple documents to execute, they do not give a testator many options and do not afford the greatest level of protection for the testator and beneficiaries. A comprehensive estate plan should include appropriate trusts tailored to your circumstances.
A living trust is one you create while you are alive, to hold your assets for your use and to transfer those assets when you pass. When you create the trust, you technically no longer own the assets, so that wealth is protected from creditors or anyone who might sue you for a car accident or other liability. You can also use a trust to help you qualify for Medicaid, to protect against a long-term nursing home stay that could force you into insolvency. There are also types of trusts, contained in your will, that come into being at your passing.
A trust is often a better way to convey wealth to your heirs than a will, because you can avoid estate and gift taxes and you can place conditions on your gift to protect the recipient. For example, if you have a special needs child, you can arrange for a monthly allowance sufficient to provide security, but not so much to disqualify your child from government benefits. If you have an heir whom you cannot trust with a lump sum, you can create a spendthrift trust to disburse funds at regular intervals, based on meeting certain conditions, such as remaining drug- and alcohol-free. You can also provide for a current spouse while protecting the inheritance interests of your children from a first marriage.
Just as it’s important to review your will, you may want to review the terms of your trusts from time to time, although your power to amend a trust differs depending on whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable. Trusts are flexible instruments we can tailor to your precise needs after discussing your circumstances and goals. Trusts that survive the grantor require a reliable trustee to manage them. Our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys often serve as trust administrators to ensure assets are protected and beneficiaries receive the full value you intended them to have.
Wills and trusts are essential for estate planning, but those instruments are only as good as the advice you get creating them. Skabelund Wirig & Loos provides trustworthy and attentive counsel for executing wills and establishing trusts. To speak with a knowledgeable attorney, call 801-788-4447 or contact our Orem office online to schedule a free consultation.