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Wills and Trusts, and What They Can do For You

Did you know that a will is one of the most valuable documents you will ever execute during your life? For young individuals with dependents, one of the most important pieces of instruction a will provides is guardianship for minors. Frequently young individuals only contemplate preparing a will when planning a long trip. However, for your personal wishes to be followed, it is best to provide written directions for guardianship of children, distribution of your assets and other instructions.

The differences between wills and trusts

A will provides instructions after death, whereas a trust provides instructions for both the distribution of assets at death and instructions for how your assets can be used while you are living. In a trust, several other provisions and details can be outlined. For example, if you have medical needs and someone needs access to your finances to cover the cost of your care, a trust provides critical instructions when you may be unable to do so.

A will becomes public after death and is submitted to the court for a judge to probate or fulfill the intent of your document. This can take one, two or more years to complete, and has associated costs to your estate. A trust is a private document and avoids probate. At a time when expenses for your care and final financial obligations need to be paid, a trustee can have access to funds immediately and fulfill your wishes according to your instructions.

For a quick overview of wills and how to make them more personal, please click here to download Six Steps to an Effective Will.