Wills, Trusts and Estates

April 28, 2019

         Why are estate laws so important? They provide you with the ability to plan the distribution of your property after you pass. Additionally, taking advantage of these laws will give you the ultimate protection with regard to your health and finances. Should you fail to plan for a will; living will; medical proxy; power of attorney; funeral directive and/or any trusts, the state will step in and decide on the distribution of your property. Moreover, if you are a parent/parents of a minor child/children without a will designating the guardian/guardians of your children, the courts will decide who receives custody. In addition, without proper planning, the costs of litigation for the custody of your children may be paid by your estate, therefore, depleting funds that may be used for living expenses and for the schooling of your children.

         What is the difference between a will and a trust? Both are extremely helpful in managing finances and property. While a will only goes into effect after passing, a trust may go into effect as soon as it is created. A will is a document that determines who will share your property when you pass, and it appoints a designated legal representative to follow through on the will’s instructions.  Estate administration is the court process that permits designated individuals to distribute your property. A trust is a commonly utilized instrument to manage one’s money.

         Additionally, a will shall pass through the Surrogate’s Court, ensuring that it is valid, whereas a trust exists outside probate, as the court does not oversee it.

         While both wills and trusts have their advantages, a will allows you to be more specific with regard to funeral arrangements and the guardianship of your children. A trust often acts as a helpful aid in planning for disability or to save significantly on taxes. Both are helpful in organizing for the future.

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