Rhode Island Will, Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate Law – FAQS by an Experienced RI Attorney

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1] do i need a will?

Probably yes. Anyone who has minor children must have a will to appoint a guardian in the event of the death of both parents when the children are minors. Anyone wishing to distribute their estate in an alternative way to intestate laws prescribed by the receiving state must have a will.

2] What is an ab intestate?

A person who dies without a will dies without a will. In these circumstances, the laws relating to the intestate as prescribed by the receiving state will govern the disposition of the estate.

3] Can I avoid probate if I have a will?

Probate is the process of validating a will. For a will to be valid and to have force and effect, a probate judge must approve the will in court and appoint an executor to deal with the estate.

4] If I die with minor children, who will take care of my money for them?

If you have minor children, a trust must be established for the period until they reach the age of majority or another age chosen by the testator. You, the testator, would also appoint a trustee to manage the trust assets for the benefit of your minor children until the body of the trust is handed over to the children.

5] Can I name the same person as executor, trustee and guardian?

Yes. The same person can perform all of these functions, but they don't have to be the same person. For practical reasons, having the same person as tutor and curator simplifies things. However, if a person is good with children but poor in finances, it may be a good idea to divide the tasks.

6] How can I avoid the homologation process?

A person's estate will not need to be probated if the person did not have assets in their name only at the time of death. Therefore, one way to avoid probate is to own all of your assets together with one another. The best approach is to create living trust.

7] What is a trust?

A trust is a separate entity that has its own legal existence apart from the settlor or settlor of the trust. The assets of the trust are governed by the trust trustee [s], who may be the same person [s] who created the trust. One of the advantages of the trust is that it does not need to be probated to be valid and effective. It works without judicial administration or supervision. This saves time and expense associated with the probate process, but trusts are more expensive to draft and implement than a will.

8] What are the other benefits of building trust?

The creator of the trust is free to include any trust provisions they wish. This flexibility allows the unique situation to be handled in a precise and delicate manner. For example, a spendthrift child may be controlled, or an injured or disabled child may have detailed arrangements for their care and maintenance.

There are also special trusts to use for tax planning purposes if the estate is taxable at the federal level or at the state level. In 2006 and 2007, the limits are $ 675,000 in Rhode Island and $ 2 million federally. These limits are adjusted for inflation in the coming years. Please contact our office if you believe you have a taxable estate.