Who needs a will?
Anyone with assets of any means, with specific beneficiaries in mind to receive such assets, are candidates for a will. It is also very common to create a will upon the birth of a child in order to appoint a guardian in the event of a premature death.
Who can have a will prepared?
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older and of sound mind.
How often should a will be reviewed?
A change in laws or a change in your circumstances would warrant a review of your estate planning documents. A good rule of thumb is every three years.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
A will is not effective until death, whereas a trust is a separate entity that can have certain powers while alive. A trust, if properly utilized, can avoid the cost and delays associated with probate.
How are wills executed?
Wills need to be notarized and signed by two witnesses.
Who is subject to estate taxes?
On the federal side, there is an estate exclusion amount of over $5,000,000 per person. Assets up to this amount would avoid the federal estate tax. There are also several states that impose a state estate tax with exclusion amounts often smaller than the federal amount. Minnesota for instance has an exclusion amount increasing until it reaches $2,000,000 per person in 2018.
Who receives your assets if you do not have a will?
The state intestacy statute would determine the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate.