1. Only rich people need a trust. A trust may be suitable for you even though you don’t have enough assets to trigger estate taxes. If you have real estate in other states, if it’s in a trust, probate in other states can be avoided. If you don’t want to give money to your children outright at your death, you can set up to have a trustee restrict their funds for educational, medical and support until they reach a certain age. If a child receives government benefits due to disability, you can create a special needs trust so that their benefits aren’t affected. If you simply want to avoid probate, a trust will do this.
2. You don’t need a durable power of attorney. If one spouse or family member is disabled, it is difficult or impossible for someone else to handle their affairs without a power of attorney. Even a spouse can’t sell a jointly owned home if their spouse is mentally or physically incapable of signing a deed.
3. You don’t need health care directives. If you are in a coma or terminally ill, a medical facility might not respect your wishes to have no extraordinary measures if it isn’t in writing.
4. A will is always probated. If there is a surviving spouse and all of the marital property is jointly owned, it usually passes to the surviving spouse without any court action. If there is no surviving spouse, but all the property has payment upon death provisions or designated beneficiaries, the property will pass to the surviving beneficiaries without being probated. If there is real estate and the decedent passed his property to his heirs with a beneficiary deed, then the real estate is not probated.
5. Powers of Attorney are effective after death. Powers of Attorney are ineffective after death. It can also be revoked anytime during the lifetime of the person granting the power of attorney.
Let me help you plan for an orderly distribution of assets after death. I can suggest whether a trust or a will is more appropriate for you.
3420 E. Shea, #200
Phoenix, AZ 85028