When a Will is Not Enough
While a will is an important estate planning tool, it is not designed to offer certain protections available under a trust. One key difference between a will and a living revocable trust is that the living trust has an incapacity clause that states who you want to manage your affairs in the event you are unable to do so during your lifetime.
Additionally, a will can determine who may receive your assets outright, while a trust may disperse those assets over a more reasonable period of time or at certain ages. A trust can help protect your assets, reduce your tax obligation, and define the management of your assets according to your wishes in a private, effective manner. Your financial advisor or attorney can help you evaluate your situation and the different types of trusts to determine if a trust is appropriate for your circumstances.
Planning for Today’s Goals and Tomorrow’s Wishes
Trusts can be used to help ensure the proper management of your assets throughout the different stages of your life:
- During your active lifetime, placing assets in a trust allows you freedom to continue managing your assets or to devote time to other priorities. A trust created and funded during your life is generally called a “living” or “revocable” trust.
- In the event you are incapacitated, a trust can help ensure that your needs are met and that your finances are kept in good order for your benefit.
- Upon your death, a trust becomes “irrevocable”, and your assets are managed and distributed by your trustee, in accordance with your instructions throughout the trust’s existence.