Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning is the process of determining what will happen to your estate after your death. Your estate essentially just describes everything you own, from your money to your home to your individual possessions. Your estate also includes intangible things, such as investments, stocks, and businesses. It is important to take the time to plan your estate, no matter how old or young you may be. It is simply a part of being prepared for the future. This guide will go over everything you need to know about estate planning. First and foremost, however, you should know that the first step you should take is to speak with an estate planning lawyer. It is not too difficult to get a free consultation.

Your Estate Planning Options

When it comes to planning your estate, you have two major options: A will or a trust. While most people will pick one or the other, you can also choose to have both in tandem. First, a will is the more traditional and popular option. A will is essentially legal instructions for the courts that explain what your final wishes are. In addition to describing how you would like your estate distributed, a will also describes who should have legal guardianship of any young children and a few other legal matters.

Second, trusts are far less involved in the legal system. When you form a trust, you make an agreement with a private individual, called a trustee, for him or her to hold your possessions. At the time you form the trust, you also set conditions for the trust, and when the conditions are met, your estate is distributed according to your instructions. If you form a trust as part of your estate planning, that condition will be your death.

Which Option Is Best

Now that you understand your options, your first question is likely which option is better. Neither option is objectively better than the other, as they each have unique advantages. The advantages of a will are:

  • Security from the court system
  • Handling legal matters in addition to estate planning
  • Avoid trust fees

On the other hand, the advantages of a trust are:

  • Avoid the probate period
  • Minimize estate taxation
  • Ability to set conditions on how individual possessions are distributed

Whether a will or trust is better will depend heavily on your unique needs and situation. By speaking with an estate planning lawyer, you can get more information about how your choices apply to your situation.