DO I NEED A WILL OR TRUST? ESTATE PLANNING FOR EVERYONE
Wills and Trusts are not just for the wealthy. Anyone can benefit from the protections of good estate planning. The majority of people, nearly 60% of Americans, do not have a Will or Trust. This is largely because planning for the end of life is not a comfortable thought, and is something that can easily be dismissed for a later day. However, a good Estate Plan can bring tremendous peace of mind to you and your loved ones. Without a plan, your loved ones can face serious financial and health planning challenges that a good plan could have avoided. Both Wills and Revocable Living Trusts are key elements of the Estate Planning process.
Estate Planning Attorneys work with you to create an individualized plan that meets your financial goals and secures your family’s future.
- Do you care who gets your property if you die?
- Do you care who gets your money if you die?
- Do you care who is appointed guardian of your minor children if you die?
- Do you care who makes medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated?
- Do you care who makes financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you would benefit from an Estate Plan. A consultation with an Estate Planning Attorney will help you determine what features your Estate Plan should include.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WILL OR TRUST
A Will differs from a Trust as a Will becomes an official public record, while a Trust remains private. Through a Will you control who inherits your property, where your money goes, and who cares for you minor children. You can also name the executor of your estate in your Will. This is the person you have stated will have the authority to make sure your wishes are carried out and your affairs are in order from paying off bills to cancelling credit cards. Through your Will estate taxes may be avoided. Without a Will, the court will make these decisions on your behalf through the probate process. This process can be lengthy and is often stressful. If you were to die suddenly without a Will, your loved ones will face unnecessary anxiety and confusion in what will be an already difficult time.
Setting up a Will is initially cheaper than setting up a Trust, there benefits of a Trust that a Will cannot provide. A Will becomes an official public record and is only effective upon death, while a Trust remains private and a Living Trust has living benefits. During your lifetime the trustee of your Trust invests and manages the trust property. If you become incapacitated, the trustee is authorized to continue to manage your Trust assets, pay your bills, and make investment decisions. This may avoid the need for a court-appointed guardian of your property. This is one of the advantages of a revocable trust. Upon your death, the trustee (or your successor if you were the initial trustee) is responsible for paying all claims and taxes, and then distributing the assets to your beneficiaries as described in the trust agreement.
Living Trusts, or Family Trusts, and Wills play an extremely important role in the Estate Planning process. Deciding which document is right for you depends on many different factors.