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A Will or Last Will and Testament is utilized to express a person's desires with respect to distribution of property upon his or her death. It may be as simple as leaving all property to a spouse or child that survives, or it may be as complicated as one that includes a marital deduction trust or other form of trust to protect the assets from federal estate tax. A Will can even transfer assets into an existing trust created before a person dies. A Will does not become effective until a person dies and a court approves it for probate. It should provide for a specified person or persons to carry out the terms of the Will as an Executor or Co-Executors.

I also counsel clients concerning Living Wills, which express a person's desires if they are terminally ill and cannot speak for themselves on issues of artificial life support and nourishment. The Living Will appoints a Healthcare Surrogate to carry out the desires expressed in the Living Will. This is a statutory form in Kentucky, which has recently been amended to include a person's desires regarding organ donation.


Trusts may be utilized for a number of purposes, including care of a handicapped child throughout his or her life, protection of assets from unscrupulous persons who might try to prey upon older people, and protection from federal estate taxes. A trust may be set up in a Will to take effect after death and probate of the Will. Or a trust may be set up while a person is alive and enjoying the benefit of the assets. While some control over assets may have to be given up by the owner, married couples may retain control of their assets until one of them dies. And if the client has a trusted family member or institution handle the assets for their benefit, the loss of some control is outweighed by the security and tax savings.

Feel free to call or email me with any questions you might have.