To take the burden off their families, individuals can plan their affairs while they are still alive and well. When it comes to estate planning, most individuals incorporate a will. However, depending upon the situation, a trust may be more beneficial for some individuals.
How do you determine which option is right for you? Both arrangements have specific characteristics. Consider these factors to help you make the best choice.
A will is a good option for individuals with smaller, less complicated estates. Wills allow individuals to designate their estate to various individuals as well as organizations that they support. The estate owner is able to expressly lay out how they want their estate to be distributed and the personal representative they want to distribute it. For those with minor children, it is possible to designate a guardian in the will. Once a will goes through probate it becomes part of public record, but the owner may still modify or revoke it if need be.
For those with large, diverse, or complicated estates, a trust may be beneficial. A trust is similar to a will in that it allows an individual to designate the distribution of the estate and make changes if needed. However, it does not require a probate process, nor does it become public record once it is in place.
If you do not have a will or trust, the State of Minnesota will designate the division of your estate according to the laws of intestate succession. This typically awards your estate to the individuals apparently closest to you, usually your family; however, it still takes the power out of your hands. Especially if you have minor children, it is important that you notate your wishes for when you are no longer with them. Either a will or a trust can help you to do that. Take some time to review both options to determine the best choice for you, your loved ones and your estate.