It is up to us to live up to the legacy that was left for us, and to leave a legacy that is worthy of our children and of future generations. -Christine Gregoire
Your legacy – what you leave behind for those you love and who love you – is not about money. Kindnesses, compassion, caring…these acts will live on in the hearts of your heirs for as long as they live. When it’s time to plan for the future, you want to do what’s best for everyone.
Will or Trust: What’s the Difference?
A will is a document that states what you want to happen after your death. It’s sometimes referred to as your “last will and testament.” In Arizona, if you die without a will, your estate is distributed to your family following general, pre-established guidelines. This means your estate may be divided in a way you didn’t want. The people you hoped would inherit your estate may not. Your will can include:
- Business assets/distribution
- Care for your pets
- Disposal of debts/taxes
- Guardianship for your children and their inheritance
- Property beneficiaries
- The executor of your estate
There are two types of trusts; a revocable trust, sometimes called a “living trust” or a “revocable living trust,” and an irrevocable trust. You can change the revocable trust at any time. But you can not change the irrevocable trust. Property held in a trust won’t go through “probate” (the official proof of a will) before your loved ones receive their inheritance.
Wills and living trusts are not mutually exclusive estate planning devices. In fact, if you have a trust, you should probably have a will to make sure all of your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. Most trusts do not provide instructions for everything in your estate. …Without a will, anything you didn’t transfer into the trust will go through that long and expensive probate process. Once again, those assets will be distributed according to state law – and most likely not the way you would choose to have your property dispersed. –balancepro.net
Wills are public and trusts are private and more difficult to contest. A trust is also a way to better manage your children’s inheritance.
The Best Balance of Will or Trust Might Be Both
A trust doesn’t replace a will; they are two separate documents. You can manage most of your assets through a trust. But you need a will to designate who gets what; the will specifies the distribution of items in your estate. A family heirloom or a beloved book can go to anyone you name in your will.
A will covers everything you own at the time of your death. It will be managed by the court system. You can specifically transfer property in a trust. It is not regulated by the court. A trust goes into effect before you die.
One of the advantages of a trust is if you become incapacitated, your trustees (heirs) can handle your estate. Another advantage of a trust is to establish satisfactory distribution and management of children’s inheritances. In most circumstances, a trust will save your heirs money on taxes.
Your Will or Trust for Peace of Mind
Estate planning is the right thing to do for the people you love. It’s another way to say “thank you” to those who love you. Some of the decisions are hard, but at Ogborne Law, we will help you navigate these difficult decisions. Your Arizona estate planning attorney can help you select a will or trust or both. Your estate solution will work for you. You will have the peace of mind that comes with effective planning for the future. Call 602.343.1435 or contact Ogborne Law with questions.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.