What should I use? – A will or a trust?

Felinton Elder Law & Estate Planning Centers What should I use? - A will or a trust?

Mindy Felinton

If you are creating an estate plan, you might wonder whether a will or trust is a better choice for leaving assets to your loved ones. The answer is that it depends upon several different factors.

Cost and Speed

The main question is which approach is less expensive. In some states, the Uniform Probate Code means that the probate process has been streamlined, and so it may be less expensive and quicker to use probate in those states. But, there are many factors to consider when making this decision. In states that do not have this Code in place, a trust may be the better choice.

Privacy

There are other considerations when deciding between a will or trust that may apply in some cases. For a person who wants their estate plans to remain private, a trust might be the better choice. Wills are matters of public record while the workings of a trust are not. Probate also requires the filing of an inventory which lists all of your assets.

Other Considerations

A trust can create a great deal of flexibility in how assets are distributed. Trusts can be set up to distribute assets when a beneficiary reaches a certain age or can be established to care for family members who are incapacitated. A trust can be established in a way that protects your assets from creditors or from your loved one’s spouses in the event of divorce.

A trust can also be used to distribute charitable donations, to pass wealth on to grandchildren or to preserve wealth across generations. A trust might be the right choice dependent upon your needs, goals and concerns.

Choose the Right Attorney for Your Estate Plan

While there are do-it-yourself options available for wills, it can be easy to make an error that leaves the will vulnerable to challenges or may even invalidate it. Working with an attorney to create an estate plan also allows you the opportunity to ask questions and explore options you may not have been aware of on your own.

Felinton Elder Law & Estate Planning Centers can provide that assistance. Mindy Felinton has offices in Florida, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Florida has adopted the Uniform Probate Code. However, in the other two locations, the Code has not been adopted, and probate could be very expensive and extremely slow. A trust might be the better choice in all of these locations.

For questions about whether to create a will or trust and other aspects of estate planning, give Felinton a call today to discuss your needs.