As a Wills and Trusts Lawyer and estate planning law firm, we offer two different types of estate plans. No surprise, they are will-based plans and trust-based plans.
A will based estate plan is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an estate plan that centers around a last will and testament as the main component. There are many pros and cons to having a strictly will based plan versus a trust based plan. Honestly, if you got a group of lawyers together in one room, many would say that a will based plan is plenty sufficient for the majority of the population, while another group would say that everyone should have a trust based plan.
Here’s a short video I did recently that talks about my thoughts on will-based vs. trust-based plans:
Cary Wills and Trusts Lawyer
Who is a Will-Based Estate Plan appropriate for?
We typically recommend a will-based plan for younger families that have children, but don’t own a home and have less than $100,000 in assets (including retirement accounts, home equity, bank or investment accounts, etc.).
The reason we recommend a will based plan to younger clients with fewer assets is their estate will not have as many legal issues to deal with in the event their will needed to go through probate. In addition, a durable power of attorney and living will can provide many of the benefits that they would typically see in a trust-based plan.
There are many benefits to a will based plan, including:
- Peace of mind in knowing that your minor children are cared for no matter what happens to you.
- Your healthcare wishes are codified in a legal document so there is no dispute about what your intentions were.
- Your loved ones are able to access your financial assets using a durable power of attorney should you become incapacitated
- You can always convert to a trust based plan should your circumstances change in the coming years
- Any plan is better than no plan at all
What is included in a Will-Based Estate Plan?
The will based plan includes a Will, Health Care Directives (i.e. living will) & Powers of Attorney.
These documents will allow you to feel a sense of calm and peace of mind in knowing that you are well taken care of if anything happens. This plan also includes a Kids Emergency Action Plan (aka KEAP™ Your Kids Safe Plan) to ensure that your children are always raised by the people you want, in the way you want and never taken out of your home by Child Protective Services or any other governmental authorities.
You may also elect to include post-death trust planning to protect assets for the people you love.