Making a plan for your estate is an important responsibility and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. An effective estate plan should include wills or trusts to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you have passed away. But how do you decide which option – a will or trust – is better suited for you? Read on as Baxter Harder, LLC explores the differences between these two choices.
Wills & Trusts
A will is a written legal document expressing one’s wishes as to how their estate and other personal matters should be handled after death. Generally, wills are created with the help of an attorney and must be signed by witnesses who are independent from the person writing the will.
A trust is a legal instrument that can be used to manage and protect assets while an individual is alive, or after they have passed away. The contents of a trust can include real estate, bank accounts, investments or other assets.
Differences Between Wills & Trusts
Will and trusts are two of the most common estate planning tools. While they have some similarities, they also have distinct differences. Wills help determine how assets should be allocated upon death while trusts can provide instructions on managing assets while a person is still alive. Since wills don't go into effect until after one passes away, they entail no provisions for managing assets during life.
Furthermore, wills typically have to go through the probate process. Probate is an extra legal step that must be taken before asset distribution can occur. Trusts do not have to go through probate. This allows for money and other assets in a trust to be distributed more quickly and efficiently.
Get the Guidance of an Estate Planning Attorney
At Baxter Harder, LLC, we understand that it can be stressful and confusing to plan the distribution of your estate. Allow our attorneys to walk you through your options and ultimately assist you in setting up an estate plan that perfectly suits your needs. Call us today at (541) 238-9210 and let’s get started together.