There are many ways in which you can begin to do estate planning. Setting up either a will or a trust allows you to bequeath your personal property to loved ones. However, before you begin your planning it is important to know the difference between a will and a trust.
A will can be changed at any time, it only goes into effect once the person who wrote it dies.
A will only covers property that you own personally. Any property owned with another person, called joint tenancy, will be passed directly to the joint tenant. Same with life insurance policies, whoever is named as the beneficiary on the policy will receive it, it can’t be changed by having it in writing in the will. Wills become public and require probate. You can also name the guardian for your children as well as specify funeral arrangements in a will.
Like a will a trust (unless it is an irrevocable trust) can be changed at any time, unlike a will a trust goes into effect as soon as it is signed. With a trust, you can begin to distribute income and property before death. Typically, a trust has two types of beneficiaries, those that receive income during their lives and another set that will receive what is left after the first set of beneficiaries have passed. A trust will cover any property that has been placed in the name of the trust. A trust is kept private and does not go through probate.
Boyes, Farina and Matwiczyk can help you decide which instrument best serves your needs and the needs of your beneficiaries and charitable organizations.
Our law practice is dedicated to assisting high net worth individuals, their families, foundations and charitable organizations in the preservation, management and transfer of personal wealth. We assist our clients in the development of estate plans and the administration of complex trusts and estates. We aggressively represent our clients in related litigation and tax court controversies.