Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is a good thing. However, many of us don’t take the steps to have an estate plan prepared because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either.
Here’s what will generally happen if you die, intestate (without a will or trust), with a will, and with a trust. For this example, we’re assuming you have children, but no spouse:
After that, state law will decide who gets what and when.
Keep in mind that since your death has been published to alert valid creditors, it’s possible for predators (fake creditors) to come forth and make demands for payment – even if they’re not owed anything.
The bottom line? Dying intestate allows state law and the court to make all the decisions on your behalf – regardless of what your intent might have been. Publicity is guaranteed.
The bottom line? While a court oversees the process, having a will allows you to tell the court exactly how you want your estate to be handled. But, a public probate is still guaranteed.
As part of the trust drafting process, you’ll have named a trustee to manage your estate, when you are no longer able to, and provide him or her with specific instructions on how your assets should be dispersed and when.
Even if you have a trust prepared, you still need a will to pour any assets inadvertently or intentionally left out of your trust and to name guardians for minor children. However, this type of will is much shorter and less complicated than one that is responsible for disposing of all of your assets to your beneficiaries.
The bottom line? Trusts allow you to maintain control of your assets through your chosen trustee, avoid probate, and leave specific instructions so that your children are taken care of – without receiving a lump sum of money at an age where they are more likely to squander it or have it seized from them.
Don’t let the will versus trust controversy slow you down. Call our office today so we can answer any questions you may have and put together an estate plan that works for you and your family whether it be a will, trust, or both.
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