When it comes to estate planning you may have heard the words “will” and “trust” used a lot. They are similar but there are some major differences. Let’s break down what they really mean, what those differences are and when each one comes into play as the best option for your estate planning.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document that explains what you want to happen to your assets after your passing. This includes things like monetary assets, land and possessions. A will is also where you would name someone to take charge of your estate or take care of your children if need be. Wills allow you to leave very specific instructions for what happens once you have passed, that will then be carried out by your designated executor. Wills are submitted to probate court where a judge will confirm that they are valid and legal. Wills are also a part of public record.
What happens if you don’t have a will?
If a will is not drawn up, the distribution of your assets can get confusing. Things may not go exactly where you want them to and your family may disagree, causing tension. Having no will also might leave some of your loved ones out in the cold. For example, if you are not married your partner would not have legal rights to your estate even if that was your wish. If there is no will, therefore there is no proof. If this were to happen, your estate would go to your closest living relative, even if they are estranged or had no part in your life. Everyone should have a will.
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal entity that protects your assets. Typically a trust is used when you have a large number of assets such as substantial investments, multiple pieces of land or simply a large estate. A trust won’t cover everything, but it will settle your finances. There are different types of trusts that work in different ways. Trusts can be kept private if needed, unlike a will which is public record.
What happens if you don’t have a trust?
It isn’t necessary for every person to have a trust. A trust is only needed if your assets are substantial. If you aren’t sure you can consult an attorney who specializes in estate planning. They will be able to help you decide if a trust is needed and they can assist you in getting the process going.
If you aren’t sure where to start with estate planning or need help making changes to your estate, contact Mestayer Law Firm. Our lawyers have years of experience and are ready to help!
Mestayer Law Firm provides civil litigation for clients throughout the Gulf Coast area including Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Gulfport. If you are making future plans for your estate, then contact us today and let us help take care of every detail of your finances. Call us today at 228-762-1193 or visit www.pascagoulalaw.com. We are your legal experts! You can also visit our office located at 2128 Ingalls Ave. in Pascagoula, Mississippi. We look forward to talking with you!
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This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am licensed to practice law in Mississippi and have based the information presented on US laws. This article is legal information and is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be seen as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on this information. Any information provided in this blog is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge, but that there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.