Estate planning is a hub of information that branches out into related topics including wills and trusts. At first it may feel overwhelming when faced with so much to consider, but sound-minded guidance helps outline the best plan for your assets. The first step is clearly defining the areas of wills and trusts.
What is a will?
Simply put, a will is a document that outlines your wishes on how you would like your assets divided after your death. You can either write your will or have an attorney write it on your behalf. If you choose to write it yourself, remember to use plain language and have a lawyer review it afterwards. Clear instructions is always safe when your will is being read and interpreted by others after your death.
A will goes through the probate process, not estate planning. Since a will goes through probate court it can be a lengthy and high-cost option.
Hiring a lawyer for your will
A lawyer may be beneficial when more complicated matters are present. If you are concerned about your will being fought over or legally challenged, a lawyer can help ensure it is protected. It also helps should you have additional concerns regarding estate taxes, disinheritance and other complex issues.
What is a trust?
A trust grants an appointed person of your choice the ability to manage, distribute and make choices related to the property and assets you leave behind. The trustee you appoint is responsible in making good-faith decisions for the beneficiaries of your estate. This means that the trustee is obligated to uphold the interests of the beneficiaries and administer communication and instruction properly.
A trust also avoids the probate process, making it much harder to challenge than a will. This can save money and time when going forward with this option.
It can be difficult to set aside time to legally arrange your affairs. However, collecting information and discussing your options helps create structure and progress. Either route you choose, seek the peace of mind knowing your wishes are legally in place.