Do You Really Need a Will?
If you are wondering whether you need a will, the simple answer is yes. Wills protect your assets, help provide for your loved ones and enforce your wishes when you are not able to do so yourself. Most people should have a will as part of their estate plans, but it is important to understand why these documents are so crucial.
The purpose of a will
At its most basic level, a will determines how you wish your property to be handled after your death. However, it may also name a personal representative to close your estate, explain how creditors will be paid and serve as a support for any living trusts you have created. Additionally, your will can provide for your loved ones by appointing a guardian for your children or by stating who will take care of pets in your absence. Together with your attorney, you will decide exactly which assets you want to include and which provisions should guide the handling of your estate.
If you already have a living trust
A common mistake people make when developing their estate plans is believing that the presence of a living trust removes the need for a will. This is untrue for multiple reasons. First, a living will exists to transfer ownership of specific assets — it is not a safeguard for all of your property. Second, a trust cannot outline who becomes the legal guardian of your minor children. Finally, trusts cannot be used to obtain forgiveness of debts owed to creditors. Many times, the probate process used with wills eliminates debts of the decedent.
If you are interested in learning more about creating or updating your estate plan, contact the skilled Tampa will and trust attorneys at BaumannKangas Estate Law.