“You can’t take any of it with you when it’s your time to go.”
Sound familiar? While the statement above is true for the most part, there are a few things you should be doing to control your assets even after death.
Possessions and money going from one spouse to the other is not an issue. However, the process does become more challenging when wealth is passed to children or other family members.
Creating a unique and personalized estate plan ensures that you make all the decisions, not the federal and state government.
Before you sit down to map out the plan for your assets, you should first ask yourself this question: What’s important to me? You should have a clear picture of which option is right for you.
What’s Better: A Will or a Trust?
Before we get to the answer of this question, it’s important to mention that every plan should have a last will and testament. These are the foundational documents within your estate plan that handle certain issues, such as child safekeeping. A Trust alone cannot do this.
On the topic of distributing your assets (money, properties, stocks, etc.), you’ll need to make a choice between a ‘Last Will and Testament’ or a Trust.
Generally, trusts cost more and take more time to establish. However, trusts give your heirs the right to skip over probate, which is a lengthy legal process that involves different parties looking through your estate. During this time, there is a holding period placed on your assets, preventing it from getting in the hands of the rightful heirs.
For the general population, a trust is not the best option because it involves handing over ownership of your property and assets to the trust and its trustee. In other words, once you sign and start a trust, there’s no going back.
Wills are much easier to create and amend.
A will is simply a signed document that explains how all your property is to be dispersed at the time of your death. It is revocable and open to amendment at any time during your lifetime.
In many aspects, both documents bring about comparable objectives.
A trust allows you to recognize certain objectives that a will cannot. But those advantages come at a price. You need to decide whether the added advantages are worth the added cost.
It is important for you to talk with an estate planning attorney to see exactly what’s right for your situation. Every situation is different and it’s best to weigh out your options before making any decision.
If you have questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free consultation to see how we can best help you.