Preparing a will or trust can be an important step in ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. However, many people have questions about the process, which can lead to confusion and uncertainty. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 questions about wills and trusts.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after you die, while a trust is a legal arrangement that allows a third party to hold and manage your assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries. The most common myth is that a trust is expensive or just for the wealthy. In fact, there are many reasons why a trust may serve your needs better than a will. Some of these include blended families, caring for family members with special needs, and unmarried people with children.
What is the purpose of a will?
The purpose of a will is to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. It can also be used to name an executor to manage your estate and to name guardians for your minor children.
What is the purpose of a trust?
The purpose of a trust is to provide a way to manage and distribute your assets while you are alive and after you pass away. It can also be used to minimize estate taxes and avoid probate.
Who can create a will or trust?
Any adult who is of sound mind and has the legal capacity to enter into a contract can create a will or trust. An estate planning attorney can help you review and consider all of the scenarios to create the best possible outcomes for your personal circumstances.
Do I need a lawyer to create a will or a trust?
While it is not required to have a lawyer create a will or trust, it is recommended to ensure that your documents are legally valid and meet your state’s requirements. It also helps ensure that each possible scenario is considered, especially when there are family dynamics at play.
Can I change my will or trust?
Yes, you can change your will or trust at any time by creating a new document or making amendments to your existing documents.
What happens if I die without a will or trust?
If you die without a will or trust, your assets will be distributed according to Maryland state laws. This may not align with your wishes and could lead to legal disputes among your heirs. There is reason that anyone should leave these important decisions in the hands of a stranger, so creating a simple will or a trust can help put your mind at ease.
How do I choose an executor or trustee?
When choosing an executor or trustee, it is important to choose someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and capable of managing your estate or trust. You may also want to consider appointing a backup executor or trustee in case the first choice is unable to fulfill their duties.
What assets should be included in my will or trust?
Your will or trust should include all of your assets, including real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments, and life insurance policies.
What is the role of a probate court?
Maryland probate court is responsible for overseeing the distribution of your assets if you die without a will or trust, or if your will or trust is contested. The court will appoint an executor or administrator to manage your estate and ensure that your assets are distributed according to state law.
To summarize, creating a will or trust can be an important step in ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. It is important to understand the differences between a will and a trust and to seek legal advice from an estate planning attorney when creating these documents. By addressing these common questions, you can feel confident in making informed decisions about your estate plan. We realize there are many questions about wills & trusts, so be sure to download the free legal guide to Wills, Trust & Probate for more information or contact us to schedule a discovery call or consultation.