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How to know when you need a trust instead of a will

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2022 | Estate Planning |

When you think about estate planning, the first thing to come to your mind is probably a will. However, arranging a trust might be preferable to writing a will in some situations.

A will dictates the distribution of an estate after an individual’s death. A trust arrangement can allow for asset division and management in more flexible terms, and there are certain situations where you might deem this necessary.

You want to distribute assets while still alive

A trust provides more control over the disbursement of your assets compared to a will. Arranging a revocable living trust even allows for the distribution of funds and other assets throughout your lifetime. For example, you might decide to establish a trust fund for your young child that will provide them with financial support over the years. This pre-arranged financial disbursement could then continue even after your death.

You want to take steps to avoid probate

The disbursement of assets mentioned in a will is overseen through court-supervised probate. Probate can be a source of conflict between family members mentioned in the will. You may instead choose to handle most or all of your asset division through a trust managed by an assigned trustee according to your own terms.

It is worth noting that a will could still be necessary for handling matters of the estate that are not mentioned in the terms of a trust. An estate planning attorney can help you decide which assets to distribute through a trust and which might be better suited to name in your will.