When it comes to their estate planning, an elderly individual may have a great many different goals. Wills can be a very useful estate planning tool when it comes to quite a few different types of estate planning goals. However, there are some estate planning goals that wills, generally, are unable to help with. We will go over two such goals in today's post.
One is probate avoidance. Wills do go through the probate process, and, thus, a will does not take assets out of the probate process. As a note, while wills do not take things out of probate, a will can sometimes help the probate process go more smoothly.
Another is estate tax avoidance/minimization. Wills generally do not take assets out of consideration for estate tax calculations, and thus typically are not very useful for estate tax planning purposes.
When some of a person's estate planning goals are ones a will cannot help with, this does not mean the person has no options for pursuing these goals in their estate plan. There are other estate planning devices out there which can help with goals that wills are unable to help with. For example, trusts can sometimes be used to help with probate avoidance and estate tax avoidance/minimization.
Elder law attorneys can provide seniors here in Massachusetts with information on what types of estate planning devices can help with different kinds of estate planning goals and can help such individuals determine what sorts of estate planning devices are the most appropriate ones for them given the goals they want their estate plan to achieve.
Source: FindLaw, "What Not To Include When Making a Will," Accessed April 22, 2015