When you choose to write a will, you are making your intentions known and acting to save your family a great deal of trouble and confusion in the long run. You can paint an even clearer picture of how you want to distribute your estate by also having a trust.
Many people believe that a will and a trust are interchangeable, but they are distinct documents that are both necessary for a complete estate plan. By understanding what a trust brings to the table and how it complements your existing will, you will see how you can improve your estate planning.
Trusts mitigate the necessity of probate
Your trust is a legal document that appoints a trustee to oversee the distribution of assets. As part of your trust arrangement, you can transfer property, finances or accounts directly to a beneficiary and retitle those items in their name. This eliminates the need for probate, the process by which your family must otherwise wait for the validation of your will before moving forward with the inheritance process.
Wills and trusts work well in tandem
A trust provides greater flexibility for you and peace of mind for your family, but a will is still necessary. The terms of your will allow you to provide more detailed instructions on the distribution of your assets. Writing a will is also the only way to accomplish certain tasks, such as naming a guardian for your underage children.
Wills and trusts fill different and equally important roles in the estate planning process. Choosing to fully support your family even after passing entails preparing both documents to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.