While a Last Will and Testament is a very important estate planning tool, it does not make an estate avoid probate. In fact, the role of the Will is to guide probate by capturing the decedent’s wishes. If a Will does not avoid the lengthy court process that is probate, then what does a Will do?
A Will performs many important functions, such as: guiding how property will be distributed, establishing an executor of the estate, and naming a successor guardian. Having a well drafted Will helps prevent disputes among heirs and protects vulnerable family members. Further, the importance of nominating a trustworthy executor cannot be understated.
If you are the guardian to a minor or adult, naming your successor can provide vital protection for those in your care. Naming a successor guardian in your Will allows the new guardian to fill that role quickly, and if there are some individuals you prefer not to act as guardian, you may specify that as well. In deciding who to name as a successor guardian, it is important to name someone you trust.
When an individual dies without a will, this is called intestacy. Under intestacy, State law dictates how an estate is distributed. If you want control over how your property will be distributed after death, a Will is the simplest tool to perform that job.
If you want to avoid probate, there are more complex estate planning tools such as Ladybird Deeds and Trusts, which our office can prepare. However, despite not avoiding probate, a Will can be an invaluable tool that protects your desires and legacy. Please contact us to learn more about how to set up an estate plan or manage a current probate case.