Now is the time to take another look at the will or trust that you had done 15 or 20 years ago ...

Because your life has most likely changed and the law certainly has. Or it's the time to get that estate plan that you have always been meaning to get around to!


You need to plan for your own and your spouse’s lifetime and the possibility disability when you cannot make health or financial decisions for yourself. You or your spouse may have children from a prior marriage. You might have mulitple retirement accounts in a variety of places with different beneficiaries. You need to plan for your future.


Your children are grown and growing their own families. A grandchild may need a special needs trust. Your son or daughter may need protection from creditors and themselves. You need to plan for their future.


Planning now to avoid unnecessary “death” taxes and probate is paramount. If you have only a will or nothing at all, your estate must be probated. By careful planning you can avoid probate and save your heirs thousands of dollars with a revocable trust.


Leave your loved ones a legacy, not a headache.


Will my estate have to pay taxes when I pass?

It depends. Most people won't owe federal estate tax, but you may owe Rhode Island estate tax. You pay tax on the amount over the exemption amount. The tax rates increase with the size of the estate.


  • In 2017, the federal exemption is $5,490,000 per person.
  • The Rhode Island exemption is $1,515,156 million for 2017.
  • Each is indexed for inflation, so the amount you don't have to pay tax on may rise a little each year.


If you have a Will—or don’t have a Will—your estate must be probated.


Probate is a court process where your assets are gathered, bills are paid, and the residue is distributed to your heirs. It can take anywhere from 6-18 months for an average case, partly because Rhode Island has 39 part-time probate judges. For example, Tiverton probate court is in session only one day a month. Few people can navigate the probate labyrinth without the aid of a lawyer. Most grieving heirs use the lawyer who drafted the deceased’s will, or if there was no will, they use their cousin’s mother-in-law’s neighbor’s lawyer.


A Revocable, or Living, Trust can avoid probate.


You establish the trust during your lifetime, title your assets into the trust and make it the beneficiary of your life insurance (consult an attorney before you make a Revocable Trust the beneficiary of your qualified retirement accounts), and at your death, a successor trustee steps in and pays your final bills and taxes and distributes the residue to your heirs. No public list of your assets. No long waits for a court date. No judge’s approval to sell your house or distribute the residue. Most successor trustees can do it without the aid of an attorney, and for much less or no fee.


Yes, a Revocable Trust costs a bit more to establish than a Will—now, but in the long run it save thousands of dollars.


What is the difference between a Will and a Revocable Trust?


Both will take care of your estate (debts and assets) after you die, but a will must be probated in a court. Your Revocable Trust acts just like a will when you die but does not have to be probated. No delay, no unknown costs, no public disclosure of your assets.


Another advantage of a Revocable Trust is that if you can no longer handle your financial affairs, your Successor Trustee can easily step in and take over immediately. If you have no plan in place, someone must go to court to set up a conservatorship and guardianship for you. This will take at least 2 attorneys, one for you and one for the guardian/conservator. It is expensive!


Estate Planning &
IRA Beneficiary Trusts

I prepare all documents myself and am there to make sure the signing is done properly. Your file will never be handed off to a paralegal. I specialize in quality, not quantity.

Zona Douthit, Attorney at Law

Phone: (401) 305-8094
Fax: (401) 753-6303
Email: Click here to contact me.

Plan for Your Family's Future

"Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning."

– Thomas Edison

©2016 All rights reserved. Zona Bouthit, Attorney at Law – – Member of the Rhode Island State Bar