When it comes to estate planning, one of the most important aspects is having a will and a living trust. Both of them are essential to protecting your family and loved ones, but it can be difficult to navigate the role they will play in your estate plan.
Our Denver estate planning lawyers are here to help you understand the differences between them to determine which one you need.
The Difference Between a Will and a Trust
The primary difference between a will and a trust is when they’re activated. A will fulfills your final wishes after you pass, but a living trust becomes effective immediately. Despite this straightforward answer, each one offers different benefits that may fit your unique needs better.
A will is a document that directs who will receive your property upon death, and it also appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. You can use your will to:
● Designate who will own your property
● Name an estate administrator
● Name guardians for minor children
If you have children, especially minors, it’s imperative to have a will in place. Thinking about this as a parent can be upsetting, but it’s more important to leave behind a legal document that establishes your children’s guardianship.
By contrast, a trust is effective during your lifetime. Its purpose is to allow the trustee to move the ownership of their key assets, such as a home or other property, to an appointed successor trustee. If you are to pass or become incapacitated, the trustee can step in and manage your affairs.
One of the main reasons people create a trust is because your estate goes directly to another person, instead of subjecting family members to a lengthy court process called probate.
Which Do I Need?
It’s always necessary to have a will, even if you have a living trust. It can act as a backup plan for any assets that are left out of your trust and can also “pour over” assets into your trust.
However, wills become public after death, which can make privacy a challenge. Since a will is public record, they are more likely to be challenged than a trust. Because the courts aren’t involved with trusts, you may find it more appealing. A trust can also provide an opportunity to exert more control over your heirs’ inheritance.
Contact a Colorado Estate Planning Attorney
Creating a will is always a smart option, and a trust may be important for your estate plan as well, but you have to consider the costs and complexities behind the process to decide what is best for you and your family. Be sure to contact a Colorado estate planning attorney who can advise you on how best to create your estate plan. At the Law Office of Alexandra White, PC, we are prepared to ensure your final wishes are kept intact and protect your loved ones’ futures.
To talk to our Colorado estate planning attorney, contact us at (303) 647-4245 and schedule your free consultation.