This post is sponsored by ASH LAW, a boutique law firm in Missouri.
What’s the difference between a trust and a will? The main difference is that wills are a ticket to probate court. Trusts, on the other hand, can allow you to avoid probate court, and greatly reduce the costs and time your family will have to invest to transfer your property. Additionally, trusts provide a level of control and privacy that wills just can’t provide. I’ve listed 3 reasons you need a trust, preferably with a pour-over will.
1. Avoid Probate.
In case no one’s told you, probate is public, expensive, and time-consuming. Do you want everyone to know what property you’ve left to your kids? Make them go through probate. Wills are filed with the probate court, so all of the information you’ve put into your will is accessible to the public. Conversely, setting up a trust allows your family to administer your estate privately, and can greatly reduce the cost and time involved in transferring your property.
2. Guide Your Minor Children.
We all want to watch our children grow up. We have dreams for our children, and we spend much of our time working to provide for them. But if we can’t watch them grow up, because we pass or are incapacitated, how can we continue to help them? By appointing trusted loved ones to care for their physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial needs. Though wills allow you to name guardians for your children when you die, they are public when filed in probate, and this often leads to families contesting guardianship of minor children. And wills only apply when you’ve passed, not when you are incapacitated. This means that a probate court will have to be involved if all you have is a will. In contrast, a trust allows you to privately name people you do and don’t want to raise your children. If your kids ever lose you, they will know that you thought ahead, and prevented them from being involved in litigation at an already traumatic time in their lives.
3. Preserve Your Assets.
A will provides guidance, but it doesn’t really provide protection for your property. If you pass before your minor children become adults, and all you have is a will, those assets will be distributed to your kids outright, with no strings attached, when they reach age 18. How long would it have taken you to spend everything you’ve accumulated by now, if you’d received it in full at age 18? On the other hand, a trust will provide protection for your property, and can even provide instructions about how and when your property is distributed to your children. Some clients get very creative with this, providing funds for their children’s educations, home purchases, and business start-ups. And a trust doesn’t mean you won’t have a will – a lot of clients use pour-over wills to ensure that even property not named in the trust can easily be transferred.
Your family deserves your support, even after you’re gone. Let them know you thought of them by planning ahead. Estate planning costs far less than probate, and your peace of mind is priceless.
ASH LAW is a boutique law firm, located in Missouri, and dedicated to thoughtful estate planning and fierce family law advocacy. To schedule a consultation, call or email ASH LAW at 816-895-2990 or [email protected].