Test Your Estate Planning Knowledge

To find out how much you know about estate planning, answer the following questions. Then scroll down to see the answers at the bottom of the page.

Don't peek or google!

Questions

1. What happens if you have assets solely titled in your name and you die without a will?

2.  What is the approximate percentage of Americans who do not have a will? 30%, 60%, 75%? 

3.   If you live in NC and are married, don't have children, and you die without a will - who gets your property?

4.   Same question as above, but you also have one or more living parents. Who gets your property?

5.   If you live in SC and are married, don't have children, one or more of your parents is alive, and you die without a will - who gets your property?

6.   If you have a will and you die, does your estate avoid probate?

7.   What is probate?

8.   If you have a fully-funded revocable living trust and you die, does your estate avoid probate?

9.   If you have a revocable living trust but have not fully funded it and you die, does your estate avoid probate?

10. Are assets inherited by your children in a trust you created and funded protected from your children'future creditors and divorcing spouses?

11. Are your assets in a revocable trust you created and funded protected from your creditors and divorcing spouse?

12. If you have a trust, do you still need a Will?

13. Can your spouse change his or her will without your permission either before or after you die? 

Bonus Question:

Can a trust help you protect your assets from Medicaid long-term care estate recovery?

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Answers

1. What happens if you have assets solely in your name and you die without a will? 

The intestate laws of the state you live in will determine who gets your property. Sadly, under intestacy laws, your wishes with respect to your property are irrelevant.

2. What is the approximate percentage of Americans who do not have a will? 30%, 60%, 75%? 

Almost 60% of Americans do not have a will.

3. If you live in NC and are married, don't have children, and you die without a will - who gets your property?

Your spouse will inherit all of your property unless one or more of your parents is living.

4. Same question as above, but you also have one or more parents who are still alive. Who gets your property?

Your property above a certain amount will be split between your spouse and your parents.

5. If you live in SC and are married, don't have children, and one or more of your parents is alive, and you die without a will - who gets your property?

Your spouse will inherit all of your property.

6. If you have a will and you die, does your estate avoid probate?

Probably not - if you have any property titled in your name or in the name of your estate (probate property), your will must be probated in order to transfer the property to your beneficiaries. 

7. What is probate?

Probate is a public court-supervised process for carrying out the terms of your will, notifying creditors, and paying final debts and expenses. This process is also referred to as estate administration.

8. If you have a fully funded revocable living trust and you die, does your estate avoid probate?

Yes - if you have transferred all of your probate property to your trust, your estate will avoid probate and your property will be distributed directly to your beneficiaries through a process known as trust administration. Trust administration, unlike estate administration, is not a court-supervised process and is private.

9. If you have a revocable living trust but have not funded it and you die, does your estate avoid probate?

Probably not - if you created a revocable living trust and have not transferred all of your probate property into your trust, the trust cannot protect property left outside the trust from probate.

10. Are assets inherited by your children in a trust you created and funded protected from your children's future creditors and divorcing spouses?

Yes, if you properly create and fund a trust for your children, the property in the trust can be protected from your children's creditors and divorcing spouses. This type of trust keeps assets in your family line. 

11. Are your own assets in a revocable trust you created and funded protected from your creditors? 

A regular revocable living trust you create and fund cannot protect your assets from your creditors. However, there are special types of trusts known as domestic asset protection trusts (DAPTS) which can protect your assets but they are not available in every state.

12. If you have a trust, do you still need a Will?

Yes, a will is a good insurance policy to have with a trust. There are special companion wills for trusts, sometimes referred to as "pour-over" wills, that sweep assets acquired shortly before death or inadvertently left out of your trust into your trust to minimize probate problems. 

13. Can your spouse change his or her will without your knowledge either before or after you die? 

Yes, unless you and your spouse have also entered into a contract to make or not to revoke a will, your spouse can change his or her will any time without your knowledge. Your spouse can also change his or her will after you die to leave property inherited from you to a subsequent spouse.

Bonus Question:

Can a trust help you protect your assets from Medicaid long-term care estate recovery?

Yes, a properly drafted type of irrevocable trust can protect your assets from Medicaid long-term care estate recovery if you act early to create the trust and fund it.

How well did you do on the Quiz?  

Grade yourself.

Fabulous        7-10 right    

Good                3-6 right

Not so much    1-2 right  

Don't worry. If you missed some of the questions, we're here to help! To find out more about estate planning, download our free book, check out our other blog posts, or contact us to schedule a consultation using the contact form or by calling 704.887.5242.

Happy Planning!

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