Wills and Trusts: Choosing the Tool That’s Best for You

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Wills and trusts are both used to distribute your estate after you die, but they’re not the same.

“If a will is a map with directions from A to B, a trust is a car with a built-in GPS,” says Rob Iddins, managing law partner of Iddins Law Group. “The majority of our clients only need a simple will, providing information on who the court should appoint as their personal representative, how debts will be paid, and how to distribute their remaining estate. But there are also many complex situations where a trust is beneficial.”

  • Minor beneficiaries: If you are leaving part of your estate to children under the age of majority, a trust can help manage the distribution of assets. This can ensure they don’t have to wait to receive money, and also that it’s released gradually instead of in a lump sum.
  • Special needs and Spendthrift trusts: If one of your beneficiaries is incapacitated, on some form of public assistance, or just has unreliable financial habits, a trust can help manage future expenses after you’re gone.
  • Snowbirds: If you own property in Washington and Arizona, your property will have to go through probate in both states, which takes a lot of time and effort. Setting up a trust can ensure your property avoids probate. “If you think of property rights as a bundle of sticks, one stick is the use (the benefit of the property), one stick is the control over how the property is managed, and one stick is the legal title. A trust is a bucket that you put the ‘legal title’ stick into, which protects it from probate,” says Iddins Law Group attorney Christian Pearson.
  • Estate planning: “After clients have been through a probate for a parent or aunt and seen how difficult the probate process can be, they often want to make their own estate plan better. Trusts mean you can do some of the legwork now, so there’s less hassle after you’re gone,” Christian says. Depending on your financial situation, trusts can also be very beneficial for mitigating estate taxes.

“I’m constantly learning more about trusts, keeping up to date with all the tools available to our clients. They’re incredibly flexible,” Christian says.

The options extend far beyond what can be described in a short article, which is why Iddins Law Group offers complimentary 15 minute phone consultations. After learning more about your needs, their attorneys can recommend the will or trust that works for you.

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