Today I'm kicking off a list of 20 things you should know about wills and trusts, as I countdown to the celebration of my 20th year in practice.
20 Things You Should Know About Wills and Trusts, No. 1:
A Will does not keep your estate from being subject to probate.
Whether you have a Will or not, if you have an asset owned solely by you, with no living joint owner or beneficiary designated, probate may be necessary for the ownership of the asset to pass to another.
The Will sets forth your wishes regarding who should receive your assets (known as the beneficiary) and who should be responsible for handling your affairs (known in Michigan as the personal representative, commonly known as executor), at your death.
You may also designate who would raise your minor children (known as the guardian) or be responsible for their legal and financial affairs (known as the conservator) until they are 18 years old.
Although you can choose to create a testamentary trust within your Will, this type of trust will not keep your assets from being subject to probate.