If you have children who would need a guardian if you died, a will is a good way to plan for the guardianship of them.
In addition, a will is particularly useful if you have assets which will go into your estate upon your death. If all of your assets pass to other people when you die and you do not anticipate coming into other property of value, then you might not need a will.
Sometimes people are told that they should do a trust rather than a will because going through probate is expensive and time consuming. Despite what you may have heard, it is not always expensive or time-consuming to go through probate in Vermont.
Consult with a lawyer if you have any questions about whether you should have a will or how your property would be distributed upon your death.
Examples of how property can be distributed at the time of your death without going through probate court
||How it is distributed automatically
If you own real estate as joint tenants:
|The property will go to the other joint tenants.
|If you own real estate as tenants by the entirety (that is, you and your spouse own the property with rights of survivorship):
||The property will go to your spouse.
|If you had a life estate:
||The property will go to the person or people who own the remainder interest.
|If you had joint bank or other financial accounts:
||The accounts will go to the other joint account holders.
|If you have money or assets in a “pay on death account”:
||The assets will go to the person or people listed as the beneficiary of the account.
Even if there is a will, all assets in the table above will be distributed according to the table, and not according to the will.