At some point in your life, you will likely have concerns about what will happen to your assets and your family in the event of your death. Whether a specific event sparks the concerns, such as the birth of a child or coming to terms with your eventual demise, taking the steps to address your needs could prevent issues in the future. However, deciding which planning options may work best for you could seem overwhelming.
One of the biggest choices you may consider revolves around whether a trust or will best suits your needs. Each type of document has pros and cons, and you may even choose to use both tools as part of your plan.
Because you may not want the public to have access to your affairs, privacy may play a role in your decisions. First, you may benefit from understanding that a will goes into the public record. As a result, anyone interested in your end-of-life wishes could gain access to the document. However, trusts do not get included in the public record, and as a result, your instructions and hopes remain as private as you desire.
In order for a will to go into effect, you must die. As a result, your family cannot act on any instructions you leave until your death and the validation of the will during probate. However, if you create a revocable living trust, a co-trustee or successor trustee can take over the management of the trust if you become unable to manage the trust yourself.
Additionally, you can detail the necessary steps to take in order to determine your incapacitation. Though someone else takes over the trust’s management, the contents of the trust do not go through distribution until your death.
Of course, if you have certain concerns, you may need both a will and a trust to cover all the areas of your estate you wish to address. For instance, if you have minor children, you can only name a guardian for your kids in a will. However, you can still use a trust to protect certain property while also using a will to address any assets not included in the trust.
Because you have important aspects in your life that you want to make sure get taken care of appropriately in the event of your incapacitation or death, you will likely benefit from creating a detailed estate plan. In order to ensure that your concerns are covered, you may wish to gain assistance with your planning from a seasoned New York attorney.