Writing a legal document which details your wishes after your death can be difficult, especially with the range of choices that you have. Many people decide to go for a simple will, while others choose to use complex estate planning to make sure that their affairs are sorted. The alternative to using a will is to set up a trust. Here are a few of the factors which will affect your decision when it comes to deciding between the use of a will and a trust, but you should always consult an experienced wills lawyer before making any significant decision.
So, what things do you need to think about when choosing whether to use a will or a trust?
The size of your estate:
Generally, trusts are more suitable for people who have a relatively large estate and a lot of assets. This is due to the fact that it does cost money to set up an estate, and it simply isn’t worth doing if you don’t have a significant amount of assets.
On the other hand, wills are extremely easy to set up, and can be done in a couple of hours with minimal financial outlay. If you have few possessions which you would like to leave to a couple of special people, then a simple will is enough. Wills lawyers can help you draft an effective will which is legally binding and which will make sure that all your wishes are carried out after you pass away.
Do you want to keep your affairs private?
Generally, the contents of a will are public material, and can be accessed by anyone who wants to see them. On the other hand, trusts are private, and are tightly controlled to protect them from outside prying. This means that they are a much better choice if you would like to keep your affairs private after your death.
How much do you want to control your affairs after you die?
Opening a trust allows you to tightly control how and when your wealth is spent after you pass away. While a will generally lets you pass things on to certain people, a trust gives you complete control over how you pass these things on.
For example, if you have a significant amount of savings which you would like your only child use to buy their first house, you can specify this in a trust. You can’t go into this kind of detail when it comes to wills.
In the end, the decision is up to you. Some people will choose to use a trust because of the power it gives them, while others will choose to use a will because they are cheap and easy to draft. Ultimately, the only important thing is that you consult with an experienced wills lawyer before making any binding decisions that you may regret later.