As you evaluate your estate planning needs, understanding the difference between a Will and a Trust is an important first step.
The major difference is that a Will is subject to probate administration at the time of your death while a Trust is not.
- A Will states how your estate will be distributed at death and names the person who will serve as Personal Representative of that estate. A Will cannot be used to confer authority to manage financial matters during your lifetime if you become incapacitated and unable to manage your financial affairs. However, you can establish a Power of Attorney to fulfill this role.
- A Trust is a separate legal entity which is created with a written agreement between the person creating the trust (the grantor) and the person who will manage the Trust (the Trustee). Assets are transferred into the ownership of the Trust, and the Trustee is charged with prudently investing and distributing those assets according to the terms of the agreement. Commonly, there are provisions for management during your lifetime should you become incapacitated and at your death.We also provide knowledge and expertise in the preparations of Supplemental Needs Trusts, which can protect future eligibility for government benefits and special benefits for disabled individuals.
We sit down with you to discuss in detail which approach is better for you, what factors might influence that decision and then prepare the appropriate legal documents. In addition, many families hire us to help them with the complexities of court and probate procedures.
Planning ahead puts you in charge of how your money will be managed and your assets distributed; you get to decide what happens to your property.