Written by Richard Chamberlain, Founder and principal attorney of Chamberlain Law Group, Ltd
As an estate planning attorney, one of the most-often asked questions I hear is, “Should I have a Will or should I have a Trust?” The answer, not surprisingly, is “It depends.” The kind of estate plan that is best for any individual or couple depends on what issues the plan needs to address. Your objectives determine the kind of plan you should have.
A Will-Based estate plan is right for you if you have the following objectives:
- You want to keep your plan as simple and inexpensive as possible;
- You want to nominate a personal representative to administer your estate and execute on your wishes;
- You need to select guardians for minor children or grandchildren;
- You want to direct the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries upon your death with no restrictions and no protections; and
- You are not concerned about any of the issues addressed in the Trust-Based Plan list below.
A Trust-Based estate plan is right for you if you have one of more of the following objectives:
- You want to keep your estate out of Probate;
- You want to keep the administration of your estate as simple and inexpensive as possible;
- You want your private information to remain private after your death;
- You want to protect your loved ones and their inheritances from creditors, lawsuits, and divorcing spouses;
- You need to plan for an adult beneficiary who is financially irresponsible or immature;
- You want to protect your spouse and/or your kids in a blended marriage or relationship;
- You want to control the timing and purpose of distributions for minor beneficiaries;
- You need to provide for a beneficiary who is disabled; or
- You want to protect your assets from long- term care expenses.
If you have questions about what kind of estate plan is right for you, we offer a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation in which we help you identify your planning needs and objectives and can recommend a planning approach that will best achieve the desired results. You can call my office at 419-872-7670 to schedule your appointment. I look forward to seeing you.