Many people considering inheritance planning will create a will. A will is one of the most commonly-used estate and inheritance planning documents because virtually everyone is familiar with a will and how it works. Unfortunately, if you want to be sure your assets and heirs are fully protected, a will may not be enough.
Inheritance planning involves taking the needs of your loved ones into account and ensuring their inheritance is protected and serves as a positive force in the life of your beneficiaries. A will does not give you a comprehensive inheritance plan that provides the protection your family deserves.
Parman & Easterday can provide you with the help you need to explore other inheritance and estate planning tools so you can keep your assets safe and do everything possible to ensure your heirs receive inheritances that set them up for success.
Why a Will is Not Enough for Inheritance Planning
There are many reasons why a will is not sufficient for inheritance planning. One issue is that a will does not allow your heirs to avoid probate. Anything you transfer through your last will and testament will become part of your probate estate. Probate is normally more costly and time consuming than other ways of leaving an inheritance.
The assets transferred through a will may go through a period of mismanagement and uncertainty before they are transferred to new owners. Your beneficiaries, for whom their inheritance can help provide financial security, must wait out the probate process over many months or even years. The value of their inheritance could be reduced by the probate costs and possibly by estate taxes.
A will may be more easily challenged than other tools used to leave an inheritance, such as a trust. The inheritance you intended to leave could end up going to someone other than the people you chose if there is a successful will contest. You do not want to worry about your family or friends challenging your wishes and invalidating your gifts after you are gone. If you create a trust, the chances of this happening are significantly reduced since it is harder to contest a trust and argue you didn’t mean to leave certain gifts when you were involved with the management of your trust over the course of your life.
A Will and Minor Children
A will may be a particularly poor tool for leaving money to minor children. Minors cannot manage their own funds, so a guardian would need to be appointed to manage the money on your child’s behalf. With trusts, you can decide who will serve as trustee for the money you leave to minors. When you leave money in a will, the Court selects the guardian and may select someone other than the person you wanted.
There is also another big concern when leaving money to a minor through a will. In most situations, the money will be released to the child once the child turns 18. Unlike a trust, you cannot impose restrictions or delay receipt by the minor if you make a simple gift in a will. If a young person inherits a large sum, there is a likelihood that the money could end up being lost. You don’t want to take a chance on this happening when there are other inheritance planning tools you can use that would avoid this happening.
Getting Help with Inheritance Planning
The good news is you do not have to restrict your inheritance planning to making a will. There are a variety of inheritance planning tools you can use to transfer assets outside of probate, reduce estate taxes, determine who manages the money in an inheritance, and provide a more controlled and meaningful gift to minor children.
Parman & Easterday can provide invaluable help with the inheritance planning process and make certain you have selected the right legal tools to accomplish your goals. To find out more about how our legal team can help with controlling your legacy and providing for your heirs, join us for a free seminar. You can also call us today at our Oklahoma City location (405) 703-9987 or our Overland Park office contact us online to get personalized and knowledgeable legal advice specific to your inheritance planning needs.
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