As dreaded as it can be, we all think about the possibility of unfavorable events happening in our lives and how it will affect the lives of everyone around us. It is important for individuals to plan for what will happen after their death, which can be done through either a will, trust, or both a will and trust. One of our experienced Reno estate planning attorneys at Carlson & Work can assist you with creating these documents to help give you peace of mind for the future.
A will is a legal document that describes how you would like your affairs dealt with and assets disbursed after you die. Wills are legally enforceable and, according to NRS 133.020, every person of sound mind and over the age of 18 years can create a will. The contents of a will include:
- List of assets and debts
- Family heirlooms
- Wishes for the individual’s funeral
If you die without a will, the state will take over the responsibility of distributing your assets. Carlson & Work can help you create will today.
A trust, like a will, is a method of estate transfer where a trustor gives a trustee the right to their assets and property titles for the benefit of a third party. There are two main types of trusts: living trusts and testamentary trusts.
- Living Trust: A living trust requires you to transfer your property after death to individuals of your choice. Living trusts are created while the trustor is still alive and may be altered during the life of the individual.
- Testamentary Trust: A testamentary trust is a method of transferring your property after death. In a testamentary trust, the trustor names a trustee who controls the distribution of the trustor’s assets.
Differences Between a Will and a Trust
While both a will and a trust are important estate planning tools, there are several differences between the two documents. A trust is enacted when the grantor signs the document, while a will is activated when the testator dies. While a will identifies guardianship of any minor children, a trust does not. Trusts tend to not be challenged in court, but wills can be challenged in court. Every will goes through probate court and your estate will become public record. Trust property passes outside of probate court, meaning there are no court or attorney fees after the trust has been created, and the individual’s property is private record. Trusts offer more control of assets, but they tend to be more expensive and complicated to create.
What’s better, a will or a trust?
While it is recommended by most estate planning attorneys that everyone should have a will, not everyone needs a trust. You can, however, have both a will and a trust. Wills are cheaper and easier to set up than a trust and are good if you have minor children since they identify a guardian for the minor. Trusts streamline the process of transferring estate after death and avoid the potentially long and costly process of probate court, which is required for those who have wills. Ultimately, the decision to have a will or trust is a personal choice depending on each individual’s circumstances. At Carlson & Work, our qualified estate planning attorneys can recommend the best estate planning tool for you to utilize and assist you in the estate planning process.