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Wills and Trusts: What You Need to Know

When a person passes away, the loved ones are left to handle important legal and financial matters. Everything may be made a lot easier if you have a will and trust in place. The right planning can help reduce stress for your family members and ensure that your wishes are honored when the time comes. In this post, we’ll answer some common questions about wills and trusts.

What is a Will?

A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that allows you to outline what happens with your assets after you die. In a will, it is also possible to name the appropriate person to manage financial matters as well as a guardian for minor children. For this reason, if you have minor children, it is vitally important to have a will.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement that ensures that a person’s assets are distributed to selected beneficiaries. The individual who establishes the trust places assets in the trust’s name and appoints a third party to manage those assets on behalf of the trust creator and beneficiaries. A primary purpose of a trust is to transfer assets from one person to another.

Wills and Trusts: What are the Differences?

  • A will states how you want your affairs and assets handled and goes into force after your death. A trust takes legal ownership of your assets the moment it is established.
  • Trusts are private documents; a will becomes public record once the person who established it passes away.
  • Wills can include provisions for the guardianship of minor children. Trusts do not.
  • Wills must go through probate after you die, which can be expensive and time-consuming, depending on your situation. Trusts generally avoid probate when the grantor passes away and are not subject to being contested.
  • A trust can offer protection if you become incapacitated. A will only come into play after death.

Should You Have a Will, a Trust, or Both?

Your personal circumstances and wishes dictate whether you should have a will or a trust. Some estate planning experts advise having both. A trust will simplify the process of transferring your assets while avoiding a probate period. However, having a will that names the guardian you specify is essential in protecting any minor children involved and their inheritance. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help guide you through the process of creating a will or trust that is customized based on your unique circumstances. At Tarta Law, we can provide answers to your estate planning questions. Contact us today at (201) 444-8448. Tarta Law serves the New Jersey Communities of Midland Park, Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Wyckoff, and Franklin Lakes.

Tarta Law Firm NJSteven W. Tarta, Esq. brings more than 45 years of professional experience to his practice, with a sophisticated focus on Estate Tax Planning, Living Trusts and Elder Law.

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