Does a will or trust make sense for me?

When making plans for your golden years, you'll encounter many different options for how to manage your estate and your finances. We break down the difference between wills and trusts and help you decide which is best for you and your family.

Understanding the Contributing Factors

Deciding between a will or a trust-based plan is a very important decision that should be made in consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney, and will ultimately depend on the clients’ objectives in structuring their estate plan.  Simply put, there are many things a trust can do that a will cannot.  The following are some common factors and considerations that may aid in the determination of whether a will or a trust is right for you:

Probate Avoidance
Simplicity of Administration
Remarriage Protection
Asset Protection
Age of Beneficiaries
Beneficiary’s Ability to Manage Finances
Family Dynamics
Net Worth
Types of Assets

If you are trying to decide whether a will or a trust is the right planning tool for you and your family, the experienced estate planning attorneys at Davidson Law Group will gladly assist you in making an educated decision based on your circumstances and your objectives.

What is a will?

A will (or last will and testament) is a signed legal document that distributes assets according to the wishes of a decedent after his or her death. A will does not have any legal authority until the person passes away and is presented in Probate Court. We advise everyone with minor children or any assets to have a will in place, even though the probate process is still involved when a person passes away. You can further protect your property and family arrangements with testamentary trusts created within the will itself.  

Some Well-Known Planning Tools

Living Will (Advance Medical Directive)

This signed document outlines your wishes for end of life decisions and medical life support in the event that you are incapable of expressing your wishes on your own. These are usually executed alongside a Medical Power of Attorney, giving a trusted loved one the authority to carry out your wishes in case you have a terminal condition without reasonable hope of recovery.

Revocable Living Trust

This is a trust that can be edited or altered while you are alive, and gives you access to the assets within the trust for your enjoyment during your life. We recommend that anyone who owns any assets in their own name should have a Revocable Living Trust. Regardless of your age, wealth, marital status, or life stage, this type of trust can help to eliminate taxes, avoid probate, and consolidate all your assets under one simple plan.

Gun Trusts

With the many complex gun laws in the United States, creating a Gun Trust can protect your family heirloom firearms for generations to come. Violating any of these gun laws can result in severe penalties and fines, and our attorneys can help you and your family avoid these hassles when it comes to firearms and weapons.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal agreement between a trust-maker, a trustee/trust manager, and beneficiaries. While you are alive, you typically play all three roles in regard to your trust. A good example would be a husband and wife making themselves these three roles to create the trust, manage the assets within the trust, and have complete control over the trust while they are alive. Once you pass away, the trust determines the ownership of your assets and allows your loved ones to avoid probate proceedings, unlike a will.

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