Wills are often the backbone of an estate plan. Writing a will ensures that all the property in your name at your death is given to your loved ones. It also allows you to name a guardian for your underage children. However, if you have not considered all the estate planning options available to you, you may not have a plan that addresses all of your goals. Can trusts give you benefits that wills cannot?
Trusts do not go through probate.
While wills go through a court-overseen probate process, trusts avoid probate. Many look to trusts as an estate planning tool for just this reason. Avoiding probate allows the beneficiaries of a trust to receive assets faster. Because the probate process is public, avoiding probate for many of your assets also lets you maintain your privacy.
A trust offers you increased flexibility.
Wills take effect at your death, but a trust can distribute your assets at a wide variety of times. Depending on the terms of your trust, you could provide for your family during your life or after your death. You could also detail specific circumstances for the distribution of the assets in trust, allowing you to do things like provide college-bound loved ones money for college upon graduation.
A trust could help you manage your assets if you become incapacitated.
Estate planning is not just establishing a plan to prepare for your death. It can also be a key way to plan for what happens if an accident or illness leaves you unable to manage your assets on your own. Your trust can name a successor trustee to manage the assets you have placed in trust and determine the situations that would allow them to take over.
Trusts and wills can work together to create a plan that suits your need.
Because there are a variety of things that wills can do that trusts cannot, they often work together to create a more comprehensive estate plan. Wills can also provide a plan for assets that you have not placed in trust. By using a trust to protect your property and uphold your wishes, you could create a plan that protects your assets today and provides for your loved ones tomorrow.