Are you thinking about preparing your estate plan, but you’re not sure whether you should have a Will or a Trust as the center piece of your estate plan? With either document, you can appoint a personal representative of your estate, and you can nominate a guardian and conservator for your minor children. You can also express your wishes regarding your property in either document, including who you would want to receive real estate, jewelry, cash, or any other property you own. Below are some differences between the two documents.
A Will is usually a shorter document, and it is usually the less expensive of the two estate planning documents. A Will does not avoid Probate Court and, once admitted, becomes a public document. With a Will, the deceased person’s assets are distributed within a reasonable time after all the expenses and creditors of the estate have been paid. You would also want to include a Health Care and Durable Power of Attorney with your Will in your estate plan.
A Trust is a more complex and lengthier document, and it is the more expensive option of the two documents. A properly drafted Trust usually avoids interaction with the Probate Court, which usually allows the contents of the Trust, including your wishes, to remain private. You can control distribution of your assets after your death with specific language and instructions provided in the Trust, including holding assets for any minor children or disabled persons. Again, make sure to include the above-mentioned Powers of Attorney with your Trust in your estate plan.