Did you know that a will is one of the most valuable documents you will ever execute during your life? For young individuals with dependents, one of the most important pieces of instruction a will provides is guardianship for minors. Frequently young individuals only contemplate preparing a will when planning a long trip. However, for your personal wishes to be followed, it is best to provide written directions for guardianship of children, distribution of your assets and other instructions.
A will provides instructions after death, whereas a trust provides instructions for both the distribution of assets at death and instructions for how your assets can be used while you are living. In a trust, several other provisions and details can be outlined. For example, if you have medical needs and someone needs access to your finances to cover the cost of your care, a trust provides critical instructions when you may be unable to do so.
A will becomes public after death and is submitted to the court for a judge to probate or fulfill the intent of your document. This can take one, two or more years to complete, and has associated costs to your estate. A trust is a private document and avoids probate. At a time when expenses for your care and final financial obligations need to be paid, a trustee can have access to funds immediately and fulfill your wishes according to your instructions.
For a quick overview of wills and how to make them more personal, please click here to download Six Steps to an Effective Will.