Do you need a Trust or a Will?

Some people are confused by the difference between a Trust and a Will. Which should you have? Which is best for you?

If you have a home or other significant assets, you probably want a Trust. If you’re married or have children, you probably want a Trust. A good Trust will protect your assets from going through Probate, and it will prevent the need for a Conservatorship if you’re incapacitated and can’t handle your own affairs. It also sets out the distribution upon your death, and it makes rules for the distributions, such as your grandchildren don’t have control until they reach the age of 30 years.

Once you sign your Trust, it has legal meaning from that moment. On the other hand, a Will has no legal effect until the moment of death.

If you only have a Will and you become incapacitated, the Will does nothing to allow other people to act for you to take care of you or your spouse or loved ones. A good Will can set out the distribution of your assets, and it can make distribution rules, but nothing can be done to protect you or your loved ones before your death. This might create the need to have you under a Conservatorship, which can be quite expensive. Having a Will also means that your assets will pass through Probate.

I was contacted last week by two women who were both recently widowed. One husband got an infection and died, at age 52, within 7 days. His widow said how she wished they had come to see me a few months before. The other widow lost her husband from a sudden heart attack, and now she’s left alone with a 3 month old child and having to deal with the difficulties created by not having proper legal documents in place. Don’t let these things happen in your family.

If you don’t have the right documents in place, we can’t properly care for you if you’re incapacitated, and if you die, then you just leave behind a mess for other people to clean up. Get the right documents in place now so that you and your family are properly protected.