Wills & Trusts
Though it is possible to make them more complex than need be, the concepts involved in Wills and Trusts are fundamentally simple. Here are the basics:
Wills: A Will (sometimes called a Last Will and Testament) is a document that tells your friends and family members:
- Who you want to receive your possessions when you die.
- Who is to make sure that your possessions end up with the people you have chosen.
- Who you want to raise your children in the event you die while they are under age 18.
That’s basically all that a Last Will and Testament does. It expresses your instructions with respect to the possessions and children that you may leave behind when you pass away. Properly prepared, signed, and witnessed, it insures that your wishes will be honored.
Trusts: A Trust (sometimes called a Family Trust or a Living Trust) is a document that tells your friends and family members:
- Who you want to receive your possessions when you die (similar to a Will).
- Who is to make sure that your possessions end up with the people you have chosen (also similar to a Will).
- When you want those heirs to receive their inheritance (if they are currently too young or immature).
A properly-prepared Trust also offers two other important advantages:
- It allows your heirs to receive their inheritance without having to go through the time and expense of a probate proceeding.
- If you have enough possessions that they will be subject state or federal Estate Taxes, a trust can usually limit (and often eliminate) those taxes.