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Gregory M. Spoo
Law Office


P.O. Box 5756
Rochester, MN 55903-5756

(507) 289-2255
 
 

Preparing a Will or Revocable Trust

Wills and revocable trusts are two very common ways for providing for the distribution of your property to the persons you want to receive your property after your death. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. To a large degree, whether a person uses a Will or a revocable trust is often a matter of personal preference. A person, however, should have (1) either a Will or a revocable trust, (2) a Health Care Directive, and (3) a good, estate planning focused Power of Attorney (not just a power of attorney limited to property and financial matters).

The main advantage of a Will is that a Will is usually less expensive and faster to prepare a Will than a revocable trust.

The main advantages of a revocable trust are that, unlike a Will, the revocable trust can avoid the need for a probate proceeding after your death (assuming all of your assets are properly transferred to the trust) and can provide for the care and management of your property during your lifetime in the event you become incapacitated or disabled. In addition, if you own real estate in another state, you can transfer the out-of-state real estate to the revocable trust during your lifetime so that your heirs can avoid a secondary/ancillary probate proceeding in that other state in order to transfer the out-of-state real estate after your death.

Compared to a Will, however, a revocable trust involves more work and more expense to prepare. A revocable trust, however, usually will involve less work and less expense for your heirs after your death than a Will due to the ability of a revocable trust to avoid probate.

All property matters aside, if you have any minor children, the main reason you need a Will is to nominate a person to serve as guardian of your minor children. The guardian would have the responsibility for the physical care and upbringing of your minor child until the child is an adult, should no parent survive. If you have any minor children, this is the most important reason you should have a Will.

People often have the misconception that it will take several appointments or a long time for them to make a Will or revocable trust. Every person’s situation is different but in most cases it will not require multiple appointments to make your Will or revocable trust agreement.

My first step in most estate planning matters is to send an Estate Planning Questionnaire which you can read and complete at your convenience in the privacy of your own home. The Questionnaire will guide you through the questions you must answer for me to be able to prepare a Will or revocable trust for you. The Estate Planning Questionnaire provides a place for you to write down all the information I generally need to prepare a Will or revocable trust. It also contains a great deal of background information to help you answer the questions in the Estate Planning Questionnaire.

If you have any questions as you are completing the Estate Planning Questionnaire or feel the need to meet with me before completing the Questionnaire, you can call me and we either schedule a meeting to discuss your questions or we can just discuss your questions on the telephone (whichever is most convenient). Most of my clients, however, find that the Estate Planning Questionnaire is self-explanatory and are able to complete the Questionnaire in the privacy of their own home.

The Estate Planning Questionnaire, in addition to asking questions, contains a great deal of background information about estate planning. Nonetheless, it is not necessarily the best approach for everyone or for you. If you have many questions about what you want to provide in your Will or revocable trust agreement and they are not answered by the Estate Planning Questionnaire, it is usually time well spent for us to address those questions at an initial meeting.

Once I have received your completed Estate Planning Questionnaire, I will prepare your Will or other estate planning documents according to your specifications and send you a copy to you for your review prior to meeting with you at my office to sign the document(s). After you have reviewed your document(s) I will make any changes you request, and then schedule an appointment for you to sign the documents. In most cases you will need to make only one visit to my office, to sign the documents.

If you are interested in preparing a Will or a revocable trust, please call my office and I will be glad to send you a copy of an Estate Planning Questionnaire and related information for your review or to schedule an appointment for us to meet.


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Copyright © 2016 Gregory M. Spoo Law Office

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.