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Should You Choose a Will or a Trust?

  • July 29th, 2014
  • Katherine Becker
Should You Choose a Will or a Trust?

A will might be right for you if:

  • You are single
  • You have assets under $150,000 and are not anticipating accumulating more
  • You have children, but no significant assets and do not own real property
  • None of your beneficiaries have special needs or receive public benefits

However, you must be aware that a will, standing alone, will need to be probated via the court system. All wills must be either 100% handwritten, signed and dated, or typed, dated, signed and witnessed by two “disinterested witnesses.”

A trust might be right for you if:

  • You have children
  • You own real property
  • You own a small business
  • You want to give your beneficiaries interest or income from assets, but not give them the assets themselves
  • You want to plan ahead and save administration costs, avoid probate, and avoid taxes
  • You want your children or successors to have less paperwork and pay less money
  • You want to make transfer of property easy

Note that guardians for minor children are not assigned in a trust, but are named in a will.

Other Probate Avoidance Vehicles
These assets go directly to the individual beneficiaries listed on the contract. They avoid probate and are distributed quickly to the named beneficiaries:

  • IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.
  • Payable on Death or Transfer on Death Accounts
  • Joint Tenancy accounts/assets
  • Life Insurance

It is always best to consult with an estate planning attorney when you are contemplating doing an estate plan. These documents are extremely important for you, your estate, and your family. Please contact us to assist you with this important process.

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