Estate planning is one of those chores that many people put off. There’s something a little depressing about coordinating the logistics associated with your own demise. However, as awkward or morbid as it may seem, estate planning is absolutely critical. If you want to pass on your possessions and assets to your family members and closest friends, then you will want to record your intentions properly with an attorney.
The biggest question for many as they are planning their estates is whether they should put a will or a trust into place.
Here’s a few important differences to consider:
What you need to know about wills
Wills have long been the most common and popular choice among people who are planning their estates. A will is a legal document that provides direction as to who should inherit which assets after your death. Wills are not enforceable while you are alive, and only become a binding document after your death. An executor must be selected by you, and that individual will provide other family members or close friends with information about the disposition of your assets. It is important to remember that a will requires your family to go through the probate process after your death, which can be both time-consuming and costly.
The benefits of a living trust
While wills have been a more popular choice for the last several decades, there are actually many more benefits to selecting a living trust for your assets. A living trust is a legal document that outlines your intentions for your assets, but it is valid while you are still living. There are higher upfront costs associated with generating a living trust, but this document does not have to go through probate. For many, a living trust is more beneficial to their family members, because there are lower costs associated with dispersing assets after their death. In addition, a living trust can provide clear direction that is indisputable about your intentions for your assets and about your directives after your death.
A living trust is unique because as soon as the document is completed, all property then enters into the living trust. You have both the ability and responsibility to manage the trust while you are alive, and then your beneficiaries inherit it upon your death. One of the biggest advantages of selecting a living trust over a will is that a living trust can be created for any size estate. Any individual who wants to implement this option as part of their estate planning is able to do so.
In order to decide whether a will or a living trust is better for you, you should set up a consultation appointment with an experienced estate lawyer. The right attorney can help you figure out how to allocate your assets and ensure that your family has access to those assets after you have passed away.
For more information on the difference between wills and living trusts, contact our law firm today.