It may not be something that people in Georgia really want to do, but people need to plan for their deaths. Death is inevitable and putting estate planning off could result in dying without an estate plan which leaves their property disposition up to the state’s intestate succession laws. When people are developing their estate plan, they have different options. For most people the main choice they need to make is whether they want a basic will or whether they want to create a trust.
Both documents will be effective at passing their property to the people that they want to have it after they die, but there are important differences. There are also different types of trusts as well and people need to know the features of different trusts to choose the one that makes the most sense for them.
Basic differences between wills and trusts
One of main differences between trusts and wills is that trusts allow people to avoid probate as long as they properly transfer their property to the trust while they are living. By avoiding probate, people are able to keep the terms and distribution of the trust assets private and also avoid the costs associated with the probate process. Understanding the different types of trusts is important though because different types of trusts allow different types of control over people’s assets while they are still living.
Wills may force the estate to go through probate, but for smaller estates, this can be a fairly straight forward process. Drafting a will instead of a trust is usually less time consuming and a less costly process, which can be beneficial. Wills also allow parents to name guardians for their minor children, which cannot be done through a trust.
There are pros and cons to both wills and trusts and knowing one’s estate planning goals is important when making the decision in Georgia. This starts with understanding the size of their estate, how many beneficiaries they have, whether they have minor children and other factors of their lives which affect their choice. Experienced attorneys understand the factors people need to analyze when determining their estate planning goals and may be able to guide one through the process.