The question of whether you need a will or a trust can be a confusing one because it’s not always one or the other. If you have a trust you should also have a will, but if you have a will you don’t necessarily need a trust. Because of the different natures of the two estate planning entities, you may need to create both.
Wills: addressing many things
Your will can address a wide range of topics in your estate plan. This document can give an overview of your estate and it can designate assets. Most importantly, it is the place where you will name the guardian for your minor children or other dependents and the executor of your estate.
This document will be enacted during the probate process, where it will inform the courts and your executor how to handle your estate after your death rather than letting the courts decide.
Trusts: dealing with certain assets
Trusts, on the other hand, are a lot more specific than wills. Essentially, each trust allows you to put assets into the entity with stipulations and directions about how the trustee and beneficiary will handle them.
There are many different types of trusts available, so you can choose which one works best for your estate. These include revocable, irrevocable, special needs trusts, grantor trusts and more. The different varieties will determine how much authority you have over the assets and what they are meant for. Trusts can become active during your life or after your passing, depending on which type you choose.
While there is much more that goes into deciding which estate planning tools you should use, remember that everyone should have a will. Trusts can be very helpful depending on your estate. Always start by talking to your attorney to really get a good picture of what type of estate planning you should use.