Don't get us wrong- wills have been around for hundreds of years and are still important estate planning tools. Without a will, a person's estate goes through the probate process and the court decides who receives all of the property according to the laws of intestacy. Often that means that property is likely to go places where you didn't foresee it going or didn't want it to go. The benefit of a will is that it allows the court to actually consider how you want your property distributed. But what most people don't realize is that their estate still goes through probate.
So when most people draft a will thinking that it is going to meet their estate planning needs, most of the time they are mistaken. There are better options available nowadays to avoid tax liability, avoid probate, and avoid will contests. So the average person in addition to their will should have additional estate planning in the form of a trust or at the very least nonprobate transfers such as payable on death designations. Otherwise, a will based plan could very easily become far more expensive than a trust ever would be.
Even the most advanced will based plans are going to have to get through probate somehow, while a trust based plan will avoid it. And the drafting of advanced will based plans rivals if not exceeds the costs of a similar trust based plan, because of the personalization required to make the will perform the functions you would want.
So, while a will is far better than nothing, if you're looking at doing your estate plan chances are you want a trust based plan, (which by the way, includes a will). Make sure you know what you’re getting into either way...
At Inter Vivos, we specialize in all forms of estate planning, both will and trust based plans. Contact us at (801) 477-1570 to determine what kind of plan you need.