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In a prior post, we highlighted the importance of creating (or updating) one’s estate plan as a New Year’s resolution. While many people have given up on resolutions around this time of year, it is essential that estate planning stay on your agenda.

Some people may believe that having a will is enough when it comes to estate planning. While having a will is a step in the right direction, it may not be enough to achieve what you have in mind for your heirs and loved ones. This post will highlight a couple of reasons why.

First and foremost, a will is more about providing direction to determine who is supposed to receive assets from the deceased. Think of it as an instruction manual that will help the executor know the basics about what the deceased has, who is supposed to be involved in ceremonies, or who is entitled to certain items with emotional significance.

However, with a will, there is still a process (legally and practically) that must be followed in order to effectuate the transfer. This means that a probate court may have to sign off on the transfer of legal ownership a particular asset. Because of this, having a trust in addition to a will would be a better option. With a trust, there will be certain items that can pass directly to intended beneficiaries without having to go through probate court to effectuate the transfer.

If you have questions about updating or creating an estate plan, an experienced attorney can help.