Which Path Should I Take? A Trust or a Will?

Should I think about a will or a trust? This article explains many of the key differences.

Written by Robert Nickerson

When it comes to planning for your family’s future, there’s a lot to think about, especially if you have a loved one with special needs. One big decision is whether to go with a Will-based plan or a trust-based plan. Let’s break it down in a way that’s easy to understand and considerate of everyone in your family.

First off, let’s talk about what happens to your stuff after you pass away. There are two main ways your belongings can be passed on: either through something called “Non-Probate,” where they go directly to specific people or through a process called “Probate,” where the court handles things according to your Will or the law if you don’t have one.

Probate is like the official way of making sure your wishes are followed after you’re gone. If you have a Will, the court makes sure it’s carried out, and your chosen executor or representative takes care of dividing your things among your family and loved ones. But if you don’t have a Will, the court decides who gets what based on a set of rules.

Now, let’s talk about trusts. A trust is like a special container where you can put your belongings while you’re alive, and when you pass away, they’re given out according to your instructions in the trust document. With a trust, there’s no need to go through the court process, which can make things easier and faster for your family.

So, which one is right for you? Well, it depends on your family’s situation. A Will-based plan might be simpler and cheaper to set up at first, but it can get more complicated and expensive after you’re gone, especially if there are disagreements or missing family members. On the other hand, a trust-based plan might cost a bit more to set up, but it can save time and money in the long run because it bypasses the court process altogether.

Ultimately, the choice between a Will-based plan and a trust-based plan depends on what works best for your family and your loved ones, especially if you have someone with special needs to consider. It’s worth talking to a legal expert to figure out the best option for you and your family’s future.

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