An effective estate plan can protect your assets, ensure your wishes are carried out upon your death, and provide for those you love after you are gone. Which is better for you, a will or a trust? It depends. What happens if you don’t have a will or a trust? It depends. Once you have a will or a trust, are you set forever? It depends.
Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. By putting a solid and comprehensive estate plan in place, excessive costs, fees, and taxes may be avoided providing a smooth transition for your loved ones.
Wills - A last will and testament (will) is a legal document which lays out particular stipulations regarding what will happen upon death. Any person 18-years-of-age or older may create a will. This document may be a cost effective way to indicate a person’s specific wishes regarding his or her property, assets, and family.
When created properly, a will is a legally binding document which will be upheld in probate court following the person’s death. Although an attorney is not necessary to create a will, it is highly recommended.
Because a will is a legally binding document, it is important that it is laid out correctly so the decedent’s wishes are followed to the letter. If the wording is off or if the document is drafted or signed improperly, there is a chance that it may be held as invalid by the probate court.
Trusts – A trust is set up to manage the distribution and availability of assets from the person who has created the trust (grantor). It may be created through a will which is known as a testamentary trust.
The trust acts much like a will in that they both accomplish the goal of setting forth a person’s specific wishes as to distribution of assets upon death; however, a trust also controls the management of assets prior to death. A trust also allows for the determination of the person that will manage the trust (trustee). Setting up a trust may eliminate taxes as well as the need for probate of a will upon death.
A trust can make the transfer of ownership of property and assets less cumbersome upon death.
Our team has the experience and dedication to partner with you in developing an estate plan designed to meet your needs and provide you with peace of mind.
Due to the extensive nature of planning for your future and beyond and the law involved, this subject is best left to an in-depth discussion with your attorney. Contact the Law Office of Cindy L. Thomas to schedule your no obligation consultation. You will receive personalized and sensitive care from our empathetic attorney.