Estate planning is not something solely reserved for the wealthy, but is a wise step for any person who wishes to maintain control over what happens to his or her estate in the future. Having a will is the most basic step in estate planning regardless of a person's income or wealth, but there are also other ways to protect yourself, such as by establishing a trust.
If you do not have an estate plan or if you believe that you may benefit from more protection than what is outlined in your will, you would be wise to discover all of the options available by speaking to an experienced Tennessee estate planning attorney. It is important to have an updated and valid will, as well as to understand how a trust may protect your interests and the interests of your loved ones.
The basics of will and trusts
Any effort that you make toward a strong, up-to-date estate plan can provide peace of mind for the future. Depending on the value and complexity of your estate, you may need more than a will. The differences between a will and a trust are as follows:
- Will: A will may be all that you need or it may be the cornerstone of a more in-depth estate plan. Typically, this document outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your money and assets after your death. A will can also name a person who will carry out your wishes and can also name a guardian for any minor children.
- Trust: There are many different kinds of trusts. This step will set aside certain assets while you are still living, but a trust can also help your beneficiaries avoid probate, minimize estate taxes and keep the details of your estate private. Some of the types of trusts include:
- Special needs trusts
- Revocable trusts
- Irrevocable trusts
- Charitable trusts
- Asset protection trusts
Trusts can ensure that your heirs do not waste their inheritances and can protect money that you want to set aside for the care of a disabled loved one. You can draft your trust according to your specific needs and unique concerns.
There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan, and it is important for every person to make the effort to protect hard-earned money. There is much at stake, but a will, trust or combination of both can provide the security and peace of mind you deserve.