What’s best for me, a Will or a Trust?
Whether you plan your estate for primarily relying on a Will or Trust depends on your and your family’s own unique, special circumstances.
Historically, a “Last Will and Testament” was the cornerstone of an estate plan, which was legally operative only upon death, and required probate by a court of the decedent’s estate.
Trusts gained in popularity in the U.S. in the 19th Century among the super-rich, and then a popular movement for the use of trusts by the middle class and wealthy started in the 1960’s.
If a trust is used, it can be made effective immediately, or deferred until death, but may be structured in either case to avoid court supervised probate.
Usually a trust is backed up by a coordinated will signed at the same time as the trust.
Your assets, family structure, needs, goals, budget, desire for privacy, potential for family conflict, estate tax exposure, and need for asset protection will all need to be weighed to determine what’s best for you.
Don’t be a victim of one size fits all planning. Know your legal rights on estate planning and act accordingly!