For those trying to navigate through estate planning, they may quickly learn how complicated things can be. An estate plan entails some of the most important decisions someone can make for themselves, yet more than half of Americans do not have one. One of the most significant points of confusion is the differences between a will and trust. To help with your planning, here is what you should know about each of them:
What wills offer
A will is a document that becomes active when you pass away, and it dictates how your beneficiaries inherit specific assets. Any will is subject to the probate process, in which a court administrator reviews the will. It can take weeks or months to complete the probate process and even more time if someone tries to contest the will. The contents of a will and its dispersal are a public matter, meaning anyone can look up the results of a will. A will can also appoint a guardian or power of attorney and disinherit someone if the testator (person who creates the will) chooses to do so.
The benefits of a trust
A trust is another option to disperse your estate, but this method can offer more control in the process. With a trust, you can disperse your assets before your passing, specify how and when the assets disperse. Additionally, trusts can avoid some inheritance taxes. A trust can also avoid the probate process, which will save your loved ones a considerable amount of time, money and energy to receive their inheritance.
Start your planning with an attorney
Estate planning isn’t always easy, but there are plenty of tools at your disposal to help you. By consulting with an estate planning attorney, you can get the guidance you need to create a custom estate plan that you need. If you are looking to start your estate plan or if it is time to update an old plan, contact an experienced attorney today.