Why Do I Need a Will?

A Will is a signed document in which a person (called “testator” or “testatrix”) directs what is to be done with his or her property after death.  

A Will gives you peace of mind because it organizes the transfer of your wealth in a way that protects everyone you love.  If you die without a Will or Trust (called “dying intestate”), the state determines who will be your ultimate heirs and the share of your estate that they receive.  If you have minor children, a conservator will be appointed by the court and the assets will be put into a restricted account.  Most judges are very strict about authorizing distributions.  

By executing a Will, you can ensure that the transfer of your wealth will go smoothly.  You can organize the management of the wealth you transfer and minimize taxes if your estate is large enough for taxes to be of concern.

With a Will, you can direct that Trusts will be created upon your death.  You can protect your spouse by creating a Marital Trust, protect your minor children by creating Trusts for your children, and protect a special needs family member by creating a Special Needs Trust.

Advantages of a Last Will

Why should I choose to execute only a Will rather than to establish a Revocable Trust?

  1. If you don’t understand how a Revocable Trust functions, you should not execute one.
  2. If your trustee will not understand how your Trust functions, you should not select him/her as a trustee.
  3. With only a Will, you can achieve the same goals of wealth transfer, asset protection and tax planning.
  4. With only a Will, avoiding court costs only matters if your estate’s assets have reached a certain threshold.
  5. Probate procedures can be very easy in certain states and jurisdictions (for instance, the District of Columbia).
  6. Even if you establish a Revocable Trust, you still must execute a Will in order to plan for assets that may not have been transferred to the Trust.
  7. The cost of creating a Revocable Trust is more expensive and time-consuming because you also must title all of your assets into the Trust.
  8. If you are not disciplined and don’t transfer all of your assets into your Revocable Trust, your executor will have to probate your Will and pay the court costs.
  9. Upon your death, your trustee will still need legal assistance for tax planning.  Often, individuals mistakenly think that with a Revocable Trust there is nothing to do upon the death of the creator of the Trust.
  10. Court supervision is sometimes good protection for the beneficiaries.

For further information, please contact Miorini Law, PLLC at (703) 448-6121 or yahne.miorini@miorinilaw.com.