The right trust lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa, can help you ensure your loved ones are properly cared for after your death. Reach out to Law Group of Iowa for more information on how you can establish a trust for your family and close friends, and read on to learn the difference between a will and a trust.
Wills vs. Trusts: What’s the Difference?
You might have heard of wills before, and if you’ve planned for the future, chances are you’ve already looked into how a will can provide for your family after you pass away. However, while planning, you may have encountered another term – one that might not get as much attention in the public eye: Trusts. What are trusts, and what sets them apart from a will?
At their core, wills and trusts perform largely similar functions. It’s even possible for an individual to have both a will and a trust. While both wills and trusts are meant to ensure your estate is properly divided when you die, there are a few important differences to keep in mind. What you learn may help you decide how best to plan your estate.
A will is a list of assets and beneficiaries. The contents of a will can be divided up between your family, friends, and pretty much anyone else named in the will. However, wills can be a little complicated when it comes to execution. A will is available on public records – it’s nowhere near as private as a trust – and a will also means probate court.
Probate is the legal proceeding in which your assets and debts are distributed across your beneficiaries: While you might hope it goes smoothly, it’s oftentimes a very contentious process. There may be some bad blood between your beneficiaries, or there may be some bitter arguing over who gets what. If you have some family members who might be a bit estranged, or particularly greedy ex-wives or ex-husbands, probate can become a major headache for everyone involved. Plus, it means estate taxes – your beneficiaries might not receive quite as much money as they (or you) hoped.
The main thing to keep in mind when considering a will is the ease of drafting a will versus the ease of execution. While it may not matter to you, a will leaves some room for argument between your family members after you die. But, a will is generally easier than a trust to draft and maintain: Once a will is written up, it’s written up.
Trusts are a little more complicated to maintain than their will counterparts. They’re also a bit more expensive to fill out. A trust requires active management after it’s created, because (unlike a will) it becomes active the moment it’s completed. (A will is only active after you die).
However, trusts have plenty of upsides, too. Unlike a will, a trust names a third party to handle your estate once you die. This means no probate court, and it’s a good way to avoid potential conflict between family, friends, and any other beneficiaries. A trust assigns assets to beneficiaries, and those terms are set in stone: a trust is uncontestable. A trust can also get around estate taxes, which means more of your money goes to the intended recipients upon your death.
Unlike a will, which is easy to draft but difficult to execute, a trust is the opposite. A trust requires active management, but after you die, there’s little room for argument and bitterness. A trust is easy to execute, but hard to make and maintain – unless you have a trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA.
Reach out to Law Group of Iowa Today
Planning your estate can be a challenging and complicated experience, especially if you’re taking the steps to make things easier for your beneficiaries by putting together a trust. While it’s possible to write your own trust, it can be hard to do without legal guidance. Fortunately, at Law Group of Iowa, we understand the importance of proper estate planning, and we’re happy to help you decide how best to plan for your future.
Get in touch with a trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA, and contact Law Group Of Iowa today.