Virginia wills and trusts are created for several reasons and they typically have three main factors. The person who creates it is known as the grantor. The person who benefits from it is known as the beneficiary. The one who is assigned to oversee the will or trust is known as the trustee or the administrator.
Although it is not a person, a trust is recognized as a legal entity. Any property or assets listed in the trust is owned by the trust and not the grantor. There are different types of trusts, but the most common one used is a living trust. This gives the creator of the trust the ability to use the property listed in the trust. After the creator dies, the assets are passed to the beneficiaries. In some case, even once the grantor dies, the trust will remain the owner of the assets but the beneficiary will have complete access to it.
There are several types of trusts available. Each one serves a different purpose. For example, a bypass trust or general trust will keep certain individuals from inheriting anything listed within the trust. Knowing that property division can sometimes cause family strife, the grantor may include a no contest clause. This clause states that if a beneficiary contest any part of the trust, that person will be disinherited.
An oral trust is handled differently from all others. In order to be enforceable, there must be evidence of the oral agreement. Trusts that are used to take care of an animal are in effect until the animal dies. Unlike assets that are left to certain people, an individual fund is not required for the up keep of the animal.
A will is more complicated than a trust. During the probate process, the beneficiaries are legally awarded the assets assigned in the will. This is a lengthy and complicated process. During the process, the deceased’s estate is assigned an administrator. The administrator cannot be anyone who benefits from the will. In order for it to be considered valid, the person must be at least 18 years and mentally competent.
Having joint ownership does not replace having a will. When one of the owners dies, the surviving person may become sole heir. However, the surviving partner may be subject to an extra tax. The state will divide the assets of any person who dies without a will. Typically, the surviving spouse will receive the complete estate. There is one exception to this rule. When the deceased have children by someone other than the surviving spouse, the children will receive two-thirds of the estate to split among all the children.
In Virginia, any person over 18 years old may leave a will. The person must be mentally capable to make decision as well as have to witnesses. The witnesses are required to sign and date the will in front of the testator.
Virginia wills and trusts are designed to protect all parties. Other than legal consequences, not having a will or trust can cause family problems. They will also reduce the amount of taxes a person owes.
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