What is a True Estate Plan for You?

Posted by Sheri Tucker, M.S., J.D.Jan 15, 2024

Quick simple forms and “Do it Yourself” (DIY) estate plans do not equal a true estate plan for you or your family.  Estate planning is not the cliché “one size fits all.”  If you looked at wills existing over a hundred years ago, they all read differently.  The historical wills of yesteryear served the same purpose as wills today: inform the public and court who receives what kind of property.

   Let's look at what it means to have a true estate plan for you and your family.  

A Last Will and Testament

Minimalism fits a décor or furniture style.  However, for most people, simplicity does not meet today's estate planning needs.  A Last Will and Testament sets out how you want to distribute your personal belongings or wealthy and the people you want to give it to.  A Will must meet state law.  It is also a public record. Your last will and testament could be that historical records your ancestors read someday.  Who needs a last will and testament? 

The Young Adult

Anyone turning 18 years old  is an adult.  A young adult with mental capacity needs a medical power of attorney and should consider a will for digital asset property.  Gamers may possess valuable gaming digital assets  and need a plan for the “what if”.  I work young adults starting a good legal habit: preparing a will that takes care of his/her personal belongings. 

Even older single adults need different estate planning than a young adult.  Again, estate planning is not merely filling out a form, or a template.  It's all about the details.  Does a will for a single person meet the needs of a young married couple? 

The Young Couple

A Young married couple may own a few more possessions.  In addition, real property may be titled for Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship (JTROS).  JTROS is considered a poor person's will or a lazy will.  Often married couples believe that joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTROS) is enough of an estate plan for real property.  JTROS  if often referred to as a poor person's will or a lazy will. It takes care of the real property if a spouse dies and the other survives.  What happens if the husband and wife both die?  Who gets the real property?  What if one spouse dies and one survives but with a major disability?  If an incapacitated spouse needs government benefits, the house may become part of a pay back to the state.  What if the spouse remarries and your dream home passes to another family?  Does a Will meet the needs for a couple with children?

Married with Children

A last will and testament is required for a married couple with children.  Parents name a guardian for their minor children.  Although a guardian is named, the Court still must approve, and if the minor is 14 years old, he or she has a voice in the guardianship choice.  Still, it is important to put a will in place for married with children.  However, is a will enough if your child has a disability?  People with different wants and needs create different last wills and testaments and the same concept applies to trusts.

Revocable Living Trust

A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is not just for wealthy people.  Whereas a last will and testament is a public record, the RLT keeps your estate and beneficiaries private.  The last will and testament takes care of your property at death.  However, the RLT protects you and your family during life, incapacity, and death.  You are the Grantor and the Trustee.  You work with an experienced estate planning attorney to design your RLT. Do you want to give everything to the Marital Trust?  Do you want to leave money to children in stages?  Do you want to include supplemental needs for a spouse or a child?  Do you own pets?  Do you want to give to a charity?  When you work with an attorney, he or she helps shape a true estate plan to meet your needs.

What is Your True Estate Planning Needs?

The last will and testament of the 1800's does not fit the needs of a person or family in the 21st Century.  Likewise, your neighbor's will or trust plan does not fit your needs.  Each person is unique with his or her own personalized assets.  Today's family is a kaleidoscope of multi-faceted personalities and needs.  Estate planning is more than a paid for generic form.  What may seem simple, does not necessarily play out in probate court as "simple."  Today, you deserve true estate planning that meets your needs and changes with you as your life changes.

Why Your Estate AllyTM?

Your Estate AllyTM provides personal care service for your peace of mind.  Your Estate AllyTM  is a law firm with a dedicated focus in estate planning and elder law.  Sheri Tucker is an experienced attorney who works with the individual and family to design and create a true, individualized estate plan.  Let's start your complimentary consultation to talk about estate planning. There is an estate plan that is right for you, your family, and your goals.  Your Estate Ally offers a limited time complimentary consultations to discuss your estate needs. Call me at 314-332-0011 or book a consultation today.