Your Legal Rights at Work

Think Your Will Protects Your Estate? 4 Reasons Why You Should Switch To A Trust

by Lewis Hamilton

If you have a legally documented will, your family is completely protected if you should pass away. Right? Not necessarily. While a will does document how you want your assets divided, it doesn't provide the best protection for you or your loved ones. That's where a trust comes in. A trust does everything a will does – divides your assets, ensures your wishes are carried out – but it goes beyond the will to provide additional protection. Here are four reasons why you should have a trust instead of a will.

No Lengthy Probate

Every will must go through a process known as probate. During the probate process, all of the assets from the estate are placed on lock-down by the courts, which means nothing from the estate may be accessed. Once the probate process is completed, the assets are released and divided according to the will. Unfortunately, the probate process can be quite lengthy, especially if disputes arise. If you have a trust, nothing included in the trust can become part of the probate process. That means your loved ones will have access to your estate much quicker.

No Public Court Hearings

During the probate process, there will be court hearings. Those hearings will be open to the public, which means that anyone interested in the proceedings will know everything about your estate. If you want to keep the information regarding your estate private, you need to have a trust instead of a will. With a trust, only a select few people will know what your trust contains. Those people will include:

  • You
  • Your attorney
  • The trustee
  • Your beneficiaries

Assets are Protected

While your will is in probate, creditors will have the option to come forward and request payment out of your assets. Those creditors will be paid before your loved ones receive anything from your estate. If you have a lengthy list of creditors, your loved ones could be left with nothing once the debts are paid. With a trust, your loved ones are protected against the creditors who may come forward. That means, your loved ones will receive exactly what you intended for them.

You Control the Distribution

If your assets are going to be divided among your children, you might want to control the manner in which they receive their inheritance. With a trust, you can determine exactly when and how they can access their inheritance. For instance, you may want to stipulate that they must graduate from college or get married before accessing their estate. A trust will afford you greater control over your estate.

If you only have a will, you need to speak to an estate attorney about transferring your estate into a trust. A trust will provide you and your loved ones with greater protection.