Do You Need a Will or Trust?
Estate planning may not be a fun or easy topic to discuss, but it is a very important step to take to ensure your assets are appropriately distributed after you are gone. While a living trust and a will have many differences, they both allow you to set the terms for the distribution of your property after you pass away.
Deciding what document to implement can be confusing. Consider the below advantages and disadvantages when determining what document is right for you.
A living trust eliminates the need to probate property that you own in another state. It also allows for immediate transfer of management for your property if you become unable to do so and removes the need for the court to appoint a guardian or conservator.
With a trust everything remains confidential and your privacy is protected. You can also name someone you trust to manage trust property for young beneficiaries.
While a trust provides many benefits, it will require a lot of initial paperwork. Also, it does not create a final cut-off for creditors to bring claims against your estate.
A trust may also require revising title documents and can interfere with refinancing property because you are required to transfer ownership of all of the property you wish to place in the trust.
Setting up a will is a seemingly simple process. It creates a cut-off for creditors bringing claims against your estate during the probate process, and you may name a guardian for your minor children. Also, you do not need to transfer any property to another person to make your will valid.
A disadvantage of a will is that once your legal will is probated, it becomes a matter of public record. Also, you may appoint an executor of your estate, and a probate lawyer can assist you with the actual distribution of property. A will does not allow you to transfer the management of your estate to someone else should you become unable to.
Whatever your situation may be, implementing either a will or trust will be very beneficial and alleviate stress for your family and loved ones if anything were to happen to you. Make sure to take time and review your options in order to make the right choices for you. If you have any questions or would like to create your trust or will, contact our trusts and wills attorneys at O’Keeffe, O’Brien, Lyson and Foss. We have many years of experience helping our clients plan for their future.
Image courtesy of Ken Mayer/flickr.