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What parents need to know about how wills and trusts differ

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Blog, Estate Planning

You have options when it comes to your Florida estate plan, and some estate planning tools and methods allow you to accomplish specific objectives that others might not. As a parent, you may focus on your energies on maximizing how much of a legacy you have to leave behind for your children. You may consider using both a will and a trust to do this.

What do wills and trusts enable you to accomplish, and what do you need to know about how they differ?

Wills

A will is arguably the most fundamental and important estate planning component. Without a will in place, you die intestate, meaning it becomes the responsibility of the state to distribute your estate. Drafting a will gives you control over what happens to your assets when you die. It may also reduce possible infighting among your family members by making your wishes clear. A will comes into play only after your death.

Trusts

Trusts come in many different formats, and they do not all work in the same manner. While a will only comes into play after your death, certain types of trusts, among them, living trusts or revocable trusts, may come into play while you are still alive. When you place assets in a trust, rather than willing them to someone, those assets skip probate, which is the process involved in “proving” your will. This allows your beneficiaries to access them much faster. When you place assets into a trust, you also protect them against possible judgments or creditors.

While a will is a good idea for everyone, you may want to think about a trust if you have concerns about probate, creditors or how your beneficiaries might spend the money you leave them.