Are Your Estate Plans Good for Your Family?

May 15 is listed as International Day of Families, so we think there’s no better time than this month to talk about how your estate plans — or lack thereof — can impact your loved ones. This May is a great time to ask yourself if your estate plans are good for your family, and will they help hold your heirs and beneficiaries together if a tragedy should occur?

In answering that question, it’s a good idea to confront some common estate planning myths. For example, estate planning is not just an activity the wealthy should consider. Estate planning, including creating a will, is important for anyone. A will can help your loved ones find closure in knowing that your final wishes were addressed, but it also provides you peace of mind. You can address how assets will be distributed, but you can also address wishes for your legacy or your children.

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Understanding Irrevocable and Revocable Trusts

Revocable and irrevocable trusts are two type of legal estate vehicles that are often used to protect, manage and pass on assets. The reasons you might use a trust include protecting assets against creditors or ensuring your wishes are maintained with regard to use of assets even when you are no longer able to make such wishes known.

A revocable trust is one that you can create and then revoke or change during your life. Sometimes these are referred to as living trusts because you can manage them while you are still living. Usually, the person who creates the trust acts as the first trustee for the trust – that means you would maintain access to and control over the assets transferred into the trust in keeping with the rules of the trust that you set up.

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When Will Validity is Questionable

A will is an important document. In most cases, someone probably took a lot of time to think about his or her future and the future of those he or she loves. A will is the document that records the results of those thoughts. It is what communicates someone’s last wishes regarding themselves, their assets and other issues important to each person. But what happens if you don’t think a will is valid?

There are several reasons someone might contest a will. First, if you think that the will that is being presented could be fraudulent, you’ll want to contest it. You’ll especially want to contest such a will if you have a will or copy of a will that you believe is actually the document your loved one prepared.

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