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Should I Have a Will or a Trust?

Estate planning grows more important as you age, but how your assets will be managed and distributed among your loved ones is important to discuss at any age. Both a will and a trust outline how your surviving family will be taken care of after you pass away, but there are major differences between them.

Our knowledgeable attorney, Matthew Karr at The Heritage Law Center can help you understand the difference between wills and trusts and decide which documents would be best for you. When you’re ready for guidance, he can outline the differences and prepare your documents.

Benefits of a Will

If you have anything to pass on to your family or friends at your time of death, a will is useful in determining who will inherit what. If you have minor children, you can also name a guardian in a will who will care for your kids if you pass away or become incapacitated. This legal document doesn’t go into effect until the creator has passed away and it becomes part of the public record. When it’s time for your will to be honored, it must go through probate before your beneficiaries receive what you have left.

Without a will or trust, ownership of whatever finances and assets you leave behind will be determined by the courts based on state guidelines. This may lead to family stress and disagreements.

Because wills are subject to probate, your family will have to wait many months to get access to your funds and your estate will lose money because of probate costs. While a will can be useful, there are other options, and our lawyer can help you choose what’s right for your estate.

Why Should I Choose a Trust?

Trusts, unlike wills, are in effect during your lifetime. A trust is a way to protect your assets by naming a trustee (sometimes the person who created the trust) who can act on your behalf when you’re no longer able to, or if you’d like assistance with your finances during your lifetime. This trustee manages the assets in the trust for the beneficiaries of the trust.

Trusts are more involved and more complex than a will and don’t go through the process of probate. Trusts also offer more options for your assets to be allocated. That can help you protect your assets, ensure they go to the right beneficiaries, and avoid penalties that can hurt you and your family, such as hefty estate taxes.

You can execute a trust for many needs, depending on the way you plan to allocate your assets. Our estate attorney can help you choose the best options for your case and for your future.

Do I Need Both a Will and a Trust?

Depending on your needs, your attorney may advise you to complete both a will and a trust. These two legal documents can work with one another by documenting the complete picture of how your assets will take care of your family when you’re gone.

A pour-over will is used with a trust to ensure that any assets omitted from the trust get put into the trust so they are still distributed according to your wishes, for example.

Matthew Karr, Esq., can review the details of your estate and what you want to do with it. Once he knows what you want, he can help you determine what your best options are.

Plan for your Family’s Future with Our Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning can be a complex process, and laws vary from state to state. By meeting with our attorney and discussing what your future and end-of-life planning needs are, you’re taking the first step in ensuring your assets are protected and your loved ones are taken care of after your death. Other factors, like future childcare and even pet care, can be documented proactively.

Ready for a consultation? Connect with The Heritage Law Center at 617-299-6976 or by completing the online form below to begin your estate planning today.