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Estate planning decisions: Will or trust?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2014 | Estate Planning |

When faced with a set of choices, many in New Jersey look for a clear path toward making the best possible decision. In terms of estate planning, selecting a course of action may seem like a challenge. In reality, however, there is almost always clear indicators that support one path over another. Once those decisions have been made, individuals are free to move forward with structuring the estate plan that best suits their unique needs.

For example, one of the primary choices facing anyone who sets out to create an estate plan is simple. Should the plan be based around a will or one or more trusts? Each choice had advantages and disadvantages, making it important to understand how either option will serve one’s interests.

A will is often far more simple to create than a trust. It is therefore less expensive to draft, as less time is needed to work through the various options. In addition, wills need less maintenance than trusts, as individuals need only to periodically review their will to make sure that the assets and beneficiaries listed are still current and correct. Estates that make use of a will are subject to the probate process, however, which can incur additional expenses at that time.

On the other hand, a trust is more complex to create, which can come with an increased up-front expense. Also, trusts must be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they are being managed correctly and have the proper funding. However, a trust will keep one’s estate out of probate, which also means that the details within will remain private. In addition, avoiding probate cuts down on expenses related to distributing assets.

As suggested here, there are pros and cons associated with both wills and trusts. There is no direct answer as to which option is the best fit for any given New Jersey resident. However, those who are considering how to move forward with their estate planning needs should rest assured that there is a solution available to fit every situation. Finding that solution is the beginning of establishing an estate plan that will allow one’s final wishes to become a reality.

Source: nwitimes.com, “ESTATE PLANNING: Prius or a Hummer?“, Christopher W. Yugo, Sept. 6, 2014