Many people wonder whether a trust or will is best for them. We hear all the time, “Is a will or trust best for me?”
The pros and cons of a will
The pros of a will are that it can direct where you’d like your assets to go. Whereas, if there’s no direction in place, then the default laws will apply.
Another pro is it will make the probate process easier for the family or survivors. However, that leads to the biggest con, which is a will does not avoid probate. Even with a will, the estate will have to go through the probate process. However, it will be easier.
The pros and cons of a trust
The pro of a trust, is that it is simpler and less expensive to get a will in place. Thus, there is a benefit to having a will versus nothing. But if the idea is to avoid probate, then a will is not going to do the trick.
A trust has the obvious benefit of avoiding probate.
Another benefit of a trust, is it also serves as an asset protection shield. If your house is held in a trust, then if somebody wants to sue you for saying, falling on your property, tripping on your property and getting injured, then they actually have to sue the trust as the owner of the house. It works as a shield.
Additionally, a trust has a lot of flexibility with respect to being able to dictate your wishes.
The cons are it’s more expensive and more time consuming to put into place. Even after the attorney drafts the trust, the trust must then be funded.
The trust is only as good as assets that are held in trust. Thus, it’s usually required to go around to bank accounts, for example, to transfer title into the trust. Real property that you desire into the trust also has to be de re deeded to us, to be in the name of the trust.
A trust maybe a better solution if:
- you’re looking to avoid probate altogether for your family
- looking for asset protection
- have more complex desires
Though it may seem overwhelming, once the re titling of assets is done, then you have great peace of mind and there’s nothing further to do.
A good way to think about the difference between a will and a trust is this. A trust is its own thing, separate and apart from a person. It’s its own entity that is capable of holding assets and treated separate and apart from the individual. A will is simply a piece of paper that can dictate wishes.
Should I have a will or a trust?
If you’re still asking, “Is a will or trust best for me?”, the best answer is, it depends. As we covered above, it depends on what you want for your family and heirs.
Do you want the protection of a trust and can you afford it? Or does a will make more sense?
Our team would love to be of service to you. Let us help you identify your best option and work with you to make it happen. Give us a call or book your free consultation with us today.