Oftentimes we get calls from prospective clients asking for us to draft wills to account for what will happen to homes, accounts, personal items, custody of minor, etc. after their deaths. What many clients are surprised to hear is that there are many options available and, most likely, more suited for their estate planning other than simply drafting a formulaic will. The beauty of estate planning is that there are options, and the options that are available make it easy to create an estate plan that fits your needs and is much more efficient than a fill-in-the-blank will.
Modern trends in estate planning present a wide range of non-probate transfers which can help you avoid the hefty expensive of probate and attorneys’ fees in the future for you and your children. While wills are oftentimes an important part of that estate plan, there are many non-probate transfers available to you to make sure your money and property pass on immediately upon your death.
Many people are somewhat familiar with the term Trust (which is a form of non-probate transfer), but there are other non-probate transfers available as well. For instance, when you place a beneficiary designation on your life insurance, you’ve just created a non-probate transfer. If you have accounts with transfer on death (TOD) or payable on death (POD) designations, you’re doing it again. Who knew you were so progressive with your estate planning!?
Nonetheless, there are always good reasons to work with an attorney to get your estate plan best tailored to your needs/wants. They can help with planning for the transfer of your home, bank accounts, stock certificates, who takes custody of your minor children, who manages the money for them until they turn 18 (or a different age if you should choose), and so much more.