When you use a last will to state your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after you die you should understand a bit about the process of probate.
The inheritances that you are leaving behind do not immediately fall into the hands of your heirs. The estate must be probated first, and during this process the local probate court will supervise the administration of the estate.
This process can be lengthy, and it can also be expensive because of court costs and the fees that will be charged by the executor and various professionals that the executor will usually engage.
When people hear all the above they often ask about alternatives. The most common alternative would be a revocable living trust.
These legal devices facilitate a transfer of assets to your heirs in a manner that does not involve the probate court. You draw up a trust agreement stating your wishes and include the choice of a trustee. This trustee can be an individual known to you, or a trust company or the trust department of a bank.
After you pass away the trustee distributes the resources that have been conveyed into the trust according to your wishes as stated in the trust agreement. You can also arrange for a trustee to handle your financial affairs in the event of your incapacitation.
When you take the above route you should understand the fact that you still need a particular type of will. A pour-over will is recommended because this device will direct assets that remain in your personal possession at the time of your death into the trust.
If you were to fail to include a pour-over will these personal assets would be subject to the probate process.