Also referred to as a living trust, a trust is a legally binding arrangement where you, the trustee, grant legal title of property to another person, the beneficiary.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
A will designates how your assets will be distributed after your death. A trust arranges how property is distributed during your life, and often times, continued in the same manner after your death. For instance, property in your trust can be transferred to a child or grandchild during your life but then also continue after your death. Property arrangements such as this do not have to go through the court in the same way property left in a will must go through the court system.
Do I need a trust?
Not necessarily. If you have specific arrangements for property that you want transferred to a beneficiary during your life, then a trust is for you. If you have a lot of property to be distributed in various ways, a trust may be advantageous. However, if you are comfortable with your assets and property to be distributed after your death, then a trust may not be necessary. Looking over your assets and discussing options with your attorney is the best way to decide if a trust is right for you.
How often should I update my trust?
You should update your trust at least every year and after any major changes in your life. This may be the death of a family member, friend or pet, the birth of a new child or grandchild, a marriage, a divorce, or new purchases or transactions.
If I have a trust, do I need a will?
Yes. You always need a will regardless if you have a trust or not. A trust and will coexist with each other. Wills reinforce anything specified in your trust. The only difference is that certain property transferred in your trust will not have to go through the court system, while property in your will is going to always go through the court system. Remember, having these documents legally guarantees your wishes be carried out. Going through the court system ensures this.