Wills and Trusts
A last will and testament is an estate planning document that allows the testator (the one signing the will) to specify whom is to receive his or her assets upon their passing. However, A Last Will and Testament is one of the most underused estate planning documents. Only 30% of Americans have executed a last will and testament. Maybe its because its regarding a topic that many of us don’t like having. ie., our own demise. But like taxes, death will eventually come to us all, and if we are not prepared, we may be leaving our loved ones with a whole lot of mess. ie., probate, litigation, court costs and, of course, attorneys’ fees. Moreover, the issues get more complex when the courts have to determine who is to inherit your belongings because you did not leave any instructions or who is to receive your property.

A Living Trust, aka Inter Vivos Trust, is an estate planning document that transfers the property of a deceased to his or her beneficiaries. Trusts have many advantages. For example, the trust being revocable allows the settlor (the person creating the trust) to amend or revoke the trust, and remove and/or add assets from the trust anytime during his lifetime. One of it’s biggest advantages is that if the settlor were to become incapacitated, the trustee (the person designated to manage the property) is allowed to continue managing the trust, which then avoids the necessity of having a court-appointed guardian handling the property. Upon the death of the settlor, the trustee must pay any and all debts and taxes, and then distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as determined by the trust. Every asset, such as real estate, investments, and bank accounts, must be transferred to the trust during the lifetime of the settlor, not after, to get the most benefits from the trust. Those assets not transferred into the trust may be subject to probate.

At PereGonza, our attorneys understand that creating wills and trusts are pivotal when discussing our client’s estate planning needs. We take a comprehensive but compassionate approach when discussing topics as sensitive as passing away. If you have questions, concerns, or would like a free case evaluation, please contact our Doral office. We would like the opportunity to help you.

“Lucky is the spouse who dies first, who never has to know what survivors. ”- Sue Grafton