You may have read about people contesting their loved ones’ wills after they passed away or about the risk of undue influence changing a person’s will later in life. As a result, you might want to look into anything you can do to prevent those issues in your own situation.
One option could be to add additional protections to your estate plan, like setting up a trust. A trust isn’t necessarily stronger than your will, but it may be more protective in some cases.
What’s the difference between a will and trust?
A will and trust are different because wills only take effect after you pass away while trusts can also be used during your lifetime. You can choose to use either separately to protect your assets and beneficiaries, or you can use them together.
The importance of your will
A will is important because it dictates how you want to have your assets distributed when you pass away. It also goes over how you want to handle your personal affairs.
Your will can be fairly protective, but it doesn’t do anything to remove assets from your estate. It gives a lot of details about what you want, but it may not be as protective as your trust when it comes to minimizing taxation or passing on your assets to specific heirs.
A trust is different because it holds assets. It may protect them against being taken by someone who isn’t the intended heir or could help avoid taxes or collections activities. Trusts, on the whole, can’t be contested very easily, making them a little stronger than a will in that sense.
You don’t have to choose one or the other
The thing to remember is that you’re not obligated to choose one over the other. You can have a will that goes over your wishes as well as trusts to protect your assets. You can set up trusts to pass on your assets and also include your wishes in your will, doubling down on what you want to have happen when you pass away.
If you’re working on your estate plan now, remember that either of these, or both, could be right for you.