Trusts & Wills

When everything in life is going right, and you are on top of the world, the last thing you may think about is how to secure your future plans as you age. If you are like most people, you have heard about wills and trusts, but you really don’t know the difference between the two. Although both documents are similar, they are still quite different. Here are a few basic facts to help clarify those differences.

The Will

Basically, a will is a document that legally lays out your wishes about events after you die. You can determine who gets your money, how you want to be buried, and the guardian of any minor children. Some people even plan their funeral or wake and add those directions to the will. Although there are many forms of wills, the simple will is used by more than 90% of people who reach out to a wills lawyer to have their will drawn up.

The Trust

A trust is like an account that you put things into while you are alive so that they can be more easily managed. The revocable and irrevocable are two types of trusts, with the revocable being the most common. Since items such as cars, jewelry, bank accounts, and heirlooms that are put into the trust are not subjected to probate, heirs have saved billions of dollars in probate taxes over the years.

The Differences

One of the most significant benefits of a trust is that it is a private document that covers the assets put into the deed. On the other hand, a will is an open, public document that allows anyone to see what assets are left behind by the deceased. The items and property covered by the will are also subject to probate while the trust is not. While terms of the will can easily be changed, and so can items in the revocable trust, if an irrevocable trust is established, the terms can’t be changed.

The Protection

Whether you choose to establish a will or set up a trust with your attorney, planning for your future by managing your assets is always a good idea. Ask your lawyer if a simple will covers your current estate needs or if you have enough assets to justify using a trust. By putting your future wishes on paper, you will know your possessions will go to the individuals you choose, and your family will not battle over the distribution of personal items. That security is worth the time it takes to meet with your attorney.