Unsure of the difference between wills and estate plans. In Kamuela, the simplest way to understand it is that a will is only one part of an estate plan. A will is an important tool used by estate planning attorneys, but there are other options that are also available.
If you have questions about the estate planning process, it is important to speak with an attorney. Estate planning is complex, and even minor errors could upend your best-laid plans for the future. Our firm could ensure that your final wishes are respected by developing an estate plan that works for you.
What is a Will?
A will is a form of legal document that is commonly used in the estate planning process. A will is used to set out your wishes following your passing. A will typically identify your property and sets out which of your heirs is entitled to inherit it.
A will can serve other purposes. For example, it can set out a preferred guardian for your minor children. A will can also name a person to serve as executor of your estate. The executor is an individual that probates your will and oversees the distribution of your assets.
Wills are common in most estate plans for a reason. These legal documents often form the backbone of the plan by designating beneficiaries and dividing large assets. An attorney could help you develop a will with clearly defined terms that ensures your wishes are adhered to.
What is an Estate Plan?
The process of estate planning is used to help you plan for the future. This includes not only after your passing, but also potentially later in life should you become unable to make your own important decisions.
There are numerous tools that can be used during the estate planning process, and a last will and testament is only one of them. An experienced attorney could advise you of the right mix of estate planning tools for your needs.
How do they Differ?
It is helpful to understand that a last will and testament is only one part of an estate plan. An estate plan is a comprehensive approach a person takes to set their affairs in order in the future.
The vast majority of estate plans include a will. In fact, these documents are often the centerpiece of estate plans. In larger estates, the will could direct how the property of the estate is distributed across countless other estate planning tools.
What Other Estate Planning Tools Are Available in Kamuela?
The last will and testament is only one aspect of a successful estate plan. Estates of all sizes could benefit from a number of other planning tools in addition to a will. Most of the time, these tools work in concert with the last will and testament instead of replacing it. Some of these tools include:
- Trusts. In addition to wills, trusts are one of the most commonly used estate planning tools in Kamuela. These trusts could be revocable or irrevocable. They could also be designed to function during the course of your life, or they could be created up to your death. Trusts are legal entities that can hold ownership of your assets. Using trusts could help your loved ones avoid probate and tax issues.
- Life Insurance. You might not realize it, but life insurance is a type of estate planning. Life insurance provides a lump sum payment to your chosen beneficiaries at the time of your death. These funds could not only support your loved ones after your passing but also pay for your final expenses.
- Payable-on-Death Accounts. Certain bank accounts can have a payable-on-death designee. These accounts transfer ownership upon your death to the named designee. This occurs instantly, without the need to go through the probate process.
- Living Wills. Also called advanced directives, this estate planning tool is designed to ensure your medical wishes are adhered to when you are still living but incapacitated.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Estate Plan in Kamuela
Wills and estate plans differ, given that a will is a tool used during the estate planning process. While wills are the most common estate planning tool, there are many other options that could be available to you as well.
The process of estate planning is important. It gives you the opportunity to decide how your assets should be divided after your passing, as well as what your medical care might look like if you are unable to make those decisions later in life. The attorneys of Olson & Sons know how important these decisions are for you and your loved ones. Reach out today for a free consultation.
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