No matter how large or small your estate, it’s important to have your estate planning in order. Not only does having a will or trust drafted help you leave clear directions on who shall distribute your estate and how, but it also can also make the process of transferring assets and handling items on behalf of your estate much easier for your appointed personal representative or successor trustee. Trusts and wills are both documents a person can create in order to take care of their assets upon their death.
One primary difference between a will and a trust is that a will only goes into effect upon a person’s death, a trust is effective immediately by taking possession of a person’s assets. Upon the creation of a trust, a person generally puts all of their assets into the trust to be distributed upon their death pursuant to the terms of the trust (vehicles, bank accounts, house, etc.). A will directs the distribution of assets as well as who is appointed as personal representative to handle the estate. Even with a will, if a person’s assets are valued over $75,000 at the time of their death, then their will needs to be probated. With a trust, if all of a person’s assets are put into that trust, then generally no probate will be needed at the time of their death. Both a revocable trust and a will can be modified or revoked while you are still living, so don’t put off drafting one or the other because of concerns of your circumstances changing.
Contacting an estate planning attorney is important for everyone at any time in their life. Regardless of your age or your assets, having an estate plan is beneficial for everyone.