Talking about mortality rarely tops most people’s to-do lists. For some, it is last on the list. It just feels complicated, overwhelming, and morbid. But no one can deny the importance of an estate plan, which is why you are here today. But as you walk through the front door to our office, one question keeps dancing around in your mind: Should we do a Will or a Trust?

Depending on your unique situation and family needs, perhaps you should consider both.

Though vastly different, Wills and Trusts are designed to let you decide exactly how you want your stuff divided and transferred to your chosen heirs. In some cases, using one over the other may be better. In other situations, they can be used together.

Wills — a Quick Overview

A Last Will and Testament, commonly called a Will, is a legal document that lets everyone know your final wishes. Think of it as a detailed list of instructions that spell out exactly how you want your property distributed after you pass away and to whom. You can be as detailed as you want with your Will, and many people prefer them for their simplicity and the fact that they are an inexpensive way to lay out wishes and elect someone (usually a family member) to handle all their affairs after they are gone.

A few pros of using a Will are that it:

  • Establishes legal guardianship of your children if they are still minors
  • Can be amended during your lifetime
  • Reduces the risk of family conflict
  • Leaves a legacy

A few cons of using a Will are that it:

  • Does not cover incapacitation
  • Is subject to probate which will make it public
  • Can have its validity challenged

Trusts — a Quick Overview

A Trust has the same intentions as a Will but is vastly different in that it allows you to make the wisest choices now that will serve you and your family later when you cannot make those important decisions. And they are becoming more common now that people realize they are not just for the super-wealthy. Unlike a will, which does not take effect until after you die, a trust starts immediately and covers death and incapacitation. Trusts also offer greater flexibility than a traditional will, such as naming successor trustees.

Unlike a will, a trust does not have to go through probate. Also, there is no open record of its contents. No one but you and whomever you choose to disclose it knows what it says.

A few pros and cons of using a Trust include:

  • It is similar to a contract; it can contain any specifics that a person’s situation requires
  • There are 27 different types of Trusts, allowing you to account for children with special needs and various other matters
  • A Trust is private information and is protected from probate
  • Greater flexibility with asset protection
  • Trusts are recognized in all 50 states
  • A Trust can be expensive and more complicated to draw up than a Will

Why Having a Will and a Trust Might Be Better in the Long Run

We recommend a pour over will along with a trust as the best estate planning strategy for most people. Estate planning involves a slew of legal documents that cover every base, including but not limited to Trusts, powers of attorney, burial directives, advanced healthcare directives, and special needs trusts.

When combined and updated regularly, these documents ensure your bases are covered today, tomorrow, and for years down the road.

The good news is that you do not have to decide about having a Will, Trust, or both by yourself. That is why you chose Leigh Hilton PLLC as your estate planning attorney. We take the time to understand your unique situation and carefully explain every estate planning document and how it may benefit you so that you can make the most informed decisions for your future.

Call Leigh Hilton PLLC Today!!

How do you decide whether to use a Will, Trust, or both? Call Leigh Hilton PLLC in Denton, and we will help determine which one serves you best. We have ample experience using each instrument and will take into consideration your particular situation. Proper planning of an estate, whether through a Will, Trust, or both, helps ensure your wishes are honored.

Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning need. We look forward to serving you.

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