Subbing in - The Benefits of Will Substitutes in Avoiding Probate

Everyone I meet with has heard me say multiple times that everyone needs at least 4 estate planning documents: a will, living will, health care directive and financial power of attorney. But just because you have those documents (and kudos to you if you do) that does not mean you have done everything you may need to provide for and protect your family. And here is where will substitutes enter. Will substitutes are documents that help your estate avoid probate and work with your will to maximize your control of your estate? Will substitutes such as Trusts (Irrevocable, Revocable, Living etc) are good for those who: a) do not want to waste time - Probate is a lengthy process. If you know your family will need your estate quickly (ie to pay for funeral/medical bills). A trust or another will substitute will allow your property to be transferred immediately so that your family will have income while they go through the probate process. b) do not want to waste money - the cost of probate is high. A short meeting with an experienced attorney could save your family thousands in the long run. c) want more control - since you are creating these documents during your lifetime, you will have more say in what happens to your property. The best way to determine which will substitute will be the best for you is by working with a team of advisors.