Posts tagged with "Estate Planning"

WHAT IS A TRUST?

By: Undisputed Legal Inc./Court Service Department

A trust is a legal instrument used to hold and manage real property and tangible or intangible personal property, for example, antiques (tangible personal property) or the right to royalty payments (intangible personal property). Putting property in trust transfers it from your personal ownership to the ownership of a legal entity called a “trust” which holds the property for your benefit or the benefit of anyone else you might name. Upon transfer, the law looks at these assets as if they were owned by the trust. Many trusts are set up in wills, and take effect upon death. Others can be established while you are still alive. 

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Do I have to have a lawyer to write my will?

By: Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

No. If your will meets the legal requirements established by the law of your state, it is valid, whether or not you wrote it with a lawyer’s help. However, a lawyer can help ensure that your will is more than just valid. Your lawyer can make sure that the will does what you really want it to do. It is for this reason that more than 85 percent of Americans who have wills worked with a lawyer. 

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Does a will cover all my property?


By: Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

Probably not. It is easy to think that a will covers all of your property. But because property can be passed to others by gift, contract, joint tenancy, life insurance, or other methods, a will might best be viewed as just one of many ways of determining how and to whom your estate will be distributed at your death. 

Who gets my property if I die without a will?

By: Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

By not leaving a valid will or trust, or by not transferring your property in some other way before death, you’ve left it to the law of your state to write your “will” for you. In the absence of a will, the law of your state has made certain judgments about who should receive a decedent’s property. Those judgments may or may not bear any relationship to the judgments you would have made if you had prepared a will or executed a trust. 

What happens if I die without a will?

By Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

If you die without a will, your property still must be distributed. The probate court in your area will appoint someone (who may or may not be the person you would have wanted to comb through all your affairs) as the administrator of your estate who will be responsible for distributing your property in accordance with the law of your state.