Tonight’s post on why a trust is better than a will, was written by our Wills, Trusts and Estates Guru, Steve Worrall.
A will is one of the most basic estate planning documents in Georgia, and every adult should have one to make sure that there is no question about what will happen to your assets and your children if something happens to you. But there are some reasons having a trust in addition to a will is essential. Here are 6 reasons:
•1. You want to avoid probate or conservatorship. A fully funded trust will avoid the probate process, which will save your loved ones time and money. In order to carry out your instructions in your will, a probate will have to be filed in the Probate Court of the county where you lived before your death. Also, if you become incapacitated, your family will also have to file in the Probate Court for guardianship and/or conservatorship over you. A will does nothing for you in that case, because it only goes into operation at death. These steps may not be necessary if you have a created a trust.
•2. You want to provide for a person with special needs. If you have a child or another dependent who has special needs, a Special Needs Trust can protect the assets for a special needs person without jeopardizing their ability to qualify for government benefits. A will allows you to transfer assets to a special needs person, but may not fully protect those assets.
•3. You want privacy. Since a will has to go through probate in Georgia, it becomes a public record. A trust is completely private.
•4. You have a blended family. If you are part of a blended family, a trust can give you the flexibility you will want to make sure that your children from a prior marriage are provided for in the way you want.
•5. You have out-of-state property. If you own property in another state besides Georgia, you can more easily transfer ownership via a trust than a will. Transferring out-of-state property in a will usually means additional legal expenses because you could have probate in multiple states and that is an additional, and costly, hassle for the people you love.
•6. You want to provide asset protection for someone else. If you want to protect the assets you leave your loved ones from creditors (including bankruptcy and divorce) a trust is the best way to do it. It’s a gift you can give your loved ones that they could not easily (if at all) give themselves.
If you would like to learn more about the use of trusts in Georgia, to pass on what you care about to the people you love most, call Steve to schedule a time to sit down and talk in a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session.
Steve Worrall is the Senior Wills, Trusts and Estates Planning and Probate Lawyer for The Manely Firm, P.C., with 5 offices throughout Georgia, including Marietta (Cobb County), Atlanta (Fulton County), Canton, (Cherokee County), Lawrenceville (Gwinnett County) and Savannah (Chatham County).