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Wills and Trusts: Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Estate

estate planning documents

When planning your estate, it is never too early to start. One mistake many make is waiting too long to get their assets in order, subsequently creating unnecessary stress. Instead, planning ahead can help ensure that your assets will be handled according to your wishes. However, you will need to familiarize yourself with the different documents available, like wills and trusts, so you will want to continue reading. If you are unsure which is better for your needs, a Putnam County estate planning attorney can help.

What Are the Differences Between Wills and Trusts?

On the surface, you may assume that a will and trust are interchangeable. However, this is far from the truth! While both are valuable documents to help get your estate in order, they differ in what they do and when they become effective.

A will is a document that takes effect after your passing, detailing what you would like to happen with your wealth. This includes who you would like to receive specific things from your estate, including assets, money, and sentimental items. Dying without a will is known as intestacy and can be a lengthy process for your loved ones, as New York will take control of distributing your assets.

A trust differs from a will because it takes effect once the document is signed. Though it can be complex to understand, a trust grants a trustee control of assets from a trustor. The trustee must adhere to the guidelines established to ensure the money is managed according to the trustor’s wishes for a beneficiary who will receive the funds or assets.

Is One Better Than the Other?

When weighing the value of one document over the other, the decision is based on your circumstances. Generally, you can set up both a will and trust if that is the best option for your financial situation.

For many, a will is singlehandedly the most essential document they will complete, as it guarantees their final wishes are met. However, others find the benefits of a trust invaluable, as it creates very specific plans for how their money is managed while still alive. A trust is an ideal option as it provides peace of mind that wealth is being managed accordingly, especially for those concerned about their health.

How Do I Make Sure My Estate is in Order?

If you are ready to plan your estate, you may not know where to begin. Though creating a will or trust seems as simple as writing your wishes down on paper and signing, the process is more complex. Obtaining the help of a lawyer can ensure that your documents are legally valid, as there are many formalities of drafting these documents that can make them invalid later down the line. Your best course of action is to ensure you hire one of our experienced estate planning attorneys to help ensure your wishes are granted.

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