A Will is how you express what you want to happen to your things after you are no longer here. Your "things," which is better known as "assets," is collectively called your "Estate," but your family will not avoid the probate process just because you have a will.
Offering a Last Will and Testament without discussing an alternative such as a Trust is not uncommon when speaking with an attorney or law firm that does not focus on Estate Planning.
In order to be sure you have a plan that best fits your needs, you should discuss and understand things like:
- How the probate process can take months or even years to complete before your assets are distributed to your heirs;
- How much of the estate assets your heirs will lose due to court costs, attorney fees, executor costs and fees, accounting costs, appraisals, etc.; and
- Other possibilities in making your last wishes known.
Discussing and understanding your concerns with an attorney will increase success when creating a suitable Estate Plan.
Justin T. Crain is an estate planning attorney in the Plano, Texas office of Thomas, Walters, PLLC where he provides legal services such as Wills, Trusts, Gun Trusts, Guardianship Administration, Probate, Estate Administration, Medicaid Planning and Nursing Home Planning to those in the surrounding areas of North Texas.