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Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

January 15, 2021

Planning for the day that you’re no longer here may not seem like the most positive thing to do with your time, but it’s essential if you wish to leave your loved ones with your estate and assets once you pass away. Because the only certainty in life is death and taxes, you’ll want to be sure your estate plan both plans for your passing and assures that the least amount of tax possible is taken from your estate when it’s passed on to the beneficiary. Designing a comprehensive plan with a Branson estate planning lawyer is a sound approach to ensure that everyone you care about is accounted for after your death.

One of the most challenging components of designing an estate plan is determining what the financial implications around your plan might entail. You’ll need your estate plan to account for funeral costs, make it easy to access your assets, and plan for the time and expense of probate court, if necessary.

Determining whether your assets are best left in a will or trust is one way to be clear about the costs your estate will incur upon your passing. Below, we discuss when you might want to select a trust over a will. 

Our Branson Estate Planning Lawyer Can Advise You About The Benefits of a Trust

Unlike a will, which will require your heirs to go to probate court to retrieve their inheritance, trusts are more flexible. They can additionally provide a substantial amount of tax benefits for the grantor. There are two main types of trusts: Revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. Each can be a valuable financial tool for streamlining and eliminating the probate process. A trust is legally separated from your estate and is established to help you grow, protect and distribute your assets by holding them in a single financial instrument. This trust can either be revocable – meaning you can amend its contents and its beneficiary as you wish – or irrevocable, meaning that once it’s created, you can no longer make any changes to it. The benefits of an irrevocable trust are that it eliminates any personal liability in your estate and additionally reduces your tax obligations on your estate.

Doesn’t a Will Do That Too?

Yes and no. Everyone should have a will, but not everyone needs a trust. While a will goes into effect after you die and designates items that are your property only, a trust is most appropriate for those who have their assets stretched across real estate, retirement accounts, and investment portfolios. A trust will be in effect during your lifetime but will have clear specifications about who will inherit its contents upon your death.

Contact a Branson Estate Planning Lawyer to Learn More

Most people will benefit from having both a will and a trust. If you want to learn more about how you can get started on an estate plan designed to minimize your tax obligations and costs, contact a Branson estate planning lawyer at our firm to learn more.