Writing wills and trusts is an essential part of estate planning that can help protect your assets and insure the distribution of them upon your death. Wills and trusts are two important legal documents that work independently or together to help make sure your assets are passed on according to your wishes. Understanding the differences between wills and trusts, and why you may want both, can help you make informed decisions about how to best protect your estate. Working with a local estate planning attorney is probably the best way to make sure your wishes are carried out effectively.
Why You May Want Both Wills and Trusts
If you choose to use a trust as the primary part of your estate plan, it is important to have both a will and the trust in place to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. Wills are the most common type of estate planning document, and they serve as a record of how you want your assets distributed upon your death. Trusts, on the other hand, also provide for the management and distribution of your assets while you are still alive. It is probably malpractice not to have a will when using a trust as the will provides a “safety net” or additional protection for your assets to make sure all your estate is taken care of in the way you intended.
Contrary to what most people believe, having a will does not avoid the probate process. A will is used to direct the probate process for assets passing through probate. Usually people want to avoid probate to avoid the lengthy and costly process. Unless something very unique occurs, assets titled in trust or for which the beneficiary is a trust, do not require probate. Assets not jointly owned, containing proper beneficiary designations, or titled in trust will have to go through probate. Probate will almost assuredly require the involvement of an attorney, court costs, and lengthier timelines meaning greater costs and fees reducing the amount of money that beneficiaries receive.
A trust can provide additional benefits for estate planning, including helping protect your assets from creditors, providing for tax advantages, and allowing you to set up a plan for management of those assets after you pass away. This last point is especially important when a beneficiary is receiving benefits they may lose due to an inheritance; this is commonly referred to as a special needs trust. Trusts can also offer greater control over the distribution of your assets, allowing conditions to be set for when and how beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
Overall, having both a will and a trust in place can help ensure that your wishes are fulfilled in the way you intended, while also protecting your assets from taxes and creditors. Working with a local estate planning attorney can help ensure that all of your assets are properly accounted for and that you have taken all necessary steps to ensure that your wishes are followed.
Working With a Local Estate Planning Attorney
When it comes to protecting your assets, using a reliable and knowledgeable local estate planning attorney is essential. An experienced attorney can provide you with the necessary legal advice to ensure that your wishes are carried out in accordance with the law. This includes drafting wills and trusts, as well as helping you navigate any legal matters that may arise.
An experienced estate planning attorney will work with you to understand your unique goals and objectives and provide you with personalized advice on how best to protect your assets. Your attorney will help you create an effective plan that will meet your needs both now and in the future.
Your attorney will also be able to explain the differences between wills and trusts and guide you in selecting the right estate planning tool for your individual circumstances. It is important to work closely with a qualified estate planning lawyer to ensure that you are creating the most comprehensive plan possible.
Having a knowledgeable local estate planning attorney by your side is the best way to ensure that your wishes are respected, and your assets are protected. If you have any questions about wills, trusts, or estate planning in general, it is always best to consult a local expert. Contact us at Paths Law in Kansas City today for more information.