If you’ve taken any steps towards planning your future, you may have considered reaching out to a will attorney to clear up some questions. Many people may know about wills, and if they’re trying to make sure their family and friends are taken care of after their death, it makes sense to plan a little by looking over the requirements and necessary documents for estate planning.
If you’ve looked into wills, you may have also heard about trusts, and whenever you learn a little more about estate planning, you’ll notice that you usually end up with more questions than when you started. It can be a challenge to plan out your own estate when there are many different options to choose from: Read on to learn more about the difference between wills and trusts, and see which may be best for you.
Wills vs. Trusts: What’s the Difference?
Wills and trusts are similar yet different, and a will attorney can help you decide which is best for you. Because wills are usually the most well-known, we’ll start by examining what a will entails, and what it means for your family and friends if you leave a will behind after your death.
Wills are lists of assets and beneficiaries. They outline what you had when you died (including real estate, investments, and debt) and they detail who should receive any of your assets after your death. Wills can be relatively straightforward, but when it finally comes time to divide up your estate across your beneficiaries, things become much more complicated. When you leave behind a will, you’re leaving behind instructions – but you’re also putting your beneficiaries through probate.
Probate is the process through which all of your assets and debts are finally split up and given to each beneficiary, but it’s a lengthy process that requires outside specialists, the involvement of a court, and the potential for dispute and disruption at every step. If you have a vindictive ex-spouse or estranged family members, they can all force their way into the process and seriously delay probate. It can be frustrating and time-consuming for everyone involved.
In short, a will is relatively simple to set up, but it’s typically more challenging when it comes to execution. Trusts, on the other hand, are the opposite.
A living trust (also referred to as a trust) involves naming a third party to handle your estate after your death. When you create a trust, you’re also taking a big step to ensure the division of your estate goes smoothly. Establishing a trust means no probate, which means the contents of your trust can’t be disputed. In terms of execution, a trust means much less drama across the board for your family and friends – but your trust will take a bit of active management during your lifetime.
Trusts take a little bit more work than wills. They are usually more on the pricier side, and they can be complicated to set up. While it’s possible to establish your own living trust, it’s always wiser to contact a will and trust attorney who can walk you through the process to ensure your trust is legally binding.
Contact W.B. Moore Law Today
Trusts and wills are both effective ways of planning for your future, and the attorneys at W.B. Moore Law are happy to help. Reach out to a will attorney today to learn more about how trusts and wills can affect your estate.
Five Reasons Why to Have an Attorney Create Your Will
It’s possible to draft your will yourself, and plenty of guides online can help. Additionally, you can even find templates online. However, it’s better to let an attorney help you when drafting your will in most scenarios. The simple fact is, drafting a will can be extremely difficult if you don’t know what you are doing. With that in mind, here are five reasons why to hire an attorney for your will:
- They Will Help You Avoid Mistakes
Especially when you’re dealing with a large estate with many beneficiaries, it’s easy to make some quick blunders. A minor error like forgetting to put in a signature or dating a document can result in your loved ones not receiving your assets. An attorney will know all the proper information you’ll need when filling out your will. They can also advise you on how to file your will. Most importantly, though, an attorney ensures the language is wording is correct. While sometimes legal documents can sound like a bunch of unnecessary legal jargon, this language prevents issues like contention or room for interpretation from rising.
- They Will Ensure You Cover All of Your Assets
When drafting a will, sometimes people think the only things they should or can include is a property like a house or an expensive car. However, your will can cover many bases, and your assets alone can also include elements like:
- Any investments you have
- Life insurance policies
- Any money you have, including bank accounts
A will can also name someone to assume guardianship if you have minor children. A living will also detail the extent of medical services you want should you get on life support.
- A Lawyer Can Help With Complex Family Dynamics
Sometimes a family dynamic isn’t straightforward, especially if you’ve been married more than once and have children from different families. Navigating how to name beneficiaries and which assets everyone will get can be very challenging, to say the least. Additionally, without a will, there’s bound to be plenty of contention between family members. While an attorney might not be able to create a plan that satisfies every family member, they can make the process easier.
- Reducing Tax Burdens For Your Family Members
Your family may own taxes on your estate, and factors like size and value can affect these taxes. A will attorney can help you lighten the load of these taxes as much as possible, making the experience more stress-free for your beneficiaries.
- Will Protect Your Plan and Give You Peace of Mind
Lastly, a will drafted by an attorney will have a much better chance of surviving problems like contention. The process of trying to wade through tons of legal jargon, search through templates, look up local and federal laws, etc., can be stressful enough. Additionally, you don’t have any guarantee that the will you created yourself can stand the test of time after you pass away. By working with an attorney, however, you can be confident that your estate and assets will be properly handled when you pass away.
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