One main difference between a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect only after you die, while a trust takes effect as soon as you create it. A will is a document that directs who will receive your property at your death and it appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes.
A carefully drafted will is essential to any estate plan. It will ensure that your desires are fulfilled and that the assets you owned individually at your death are distributed according to your wishes. A well-drafted will can accomplish these things, along with several other legal objectives.
What is a will?
A Will is a key component to every estate plan. A will is a legal document that addresses a number of issues upon the individual’s death, including:
- Choice of a personal representative/executor
- Distribution of individually owned assets
- Payment of debts
- Designation of guardians for any minor children
By executing a carefully drafted will, you can also save your loved ones from the emotional turmoil of accepting the default options that the State has imposed on them due to your failure to act.
How Can Life Care Legal Counselors Help?
We help our clients obtain peace of mind by developing a thorough estate plan that includes the appropriate legal documents, such as a will, trust(s), and powers of attorney.
A last will and testament isn’t the be all and end all of estate planning. Instead, it’s just one of the elements that goes into comprehensive planning. Dying without a will means that person is considered to have passed away “intestate” and the distribution of their assets will be handled in accordance with state laws. Three important notes about wills:
- Wills don’t have any legal status until someone dies, which means they aren’t a tool that can be used to manage an incapacitation due to injury or sickness.
- When someone passes away, their will is sent to probate court. So the assumption that a will can be used to avoid probate is false.
- The only legal document parents can use to name guardians for minor children is a will, which is why all parents should have a will regardless of their age. Without a will, a judge in a probate court gets to decide what is in the best interest of your children should a guardian be necessary.