Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

The majority of Americans do not have a will or a trust. According to USA Today, 64 percent of Americans do not have a will. But do you really need one? The answer to that is most likely yes. However, do you need a simple will or will your loved ones be better off after you are gone if you had created a trust as well as a will? To find out which is right for you, contact an experienced Anne Arundel county estate planning attorney. Estate planning is an important step for everyone from parents, people who have others that depend on them financially, and middle aged to older people who want to leave their loved ones with a legacy.

A Simple Will Might be Enough

Dying without a will is called intestate. When a person dies without a will, they usually leave behind intestate assets–assets that would have been dealt with via a will–which will be divided up depending on their particular circumstances. For example, if a married parent with three minor children died and left behind $80,000 in intestate assets, the spouse would receive half ($40,000) and the three children would each receive equal shares of the remaining half ($13,333 apiece). This division may not be the most fair, or have been what the decedent wanted. A simple will can clear up any confusion regarding who gets what, how you want to be buried or cremated, and many other issues. A will can:

  • Name a guardian for children;
  • Name beneficiaries;
  • Fulfill funeral and burial wishes; and
  • Gives instruction for how debts should be paid.

Furthermore, a will is also generally easy to amend.

A Living Trust to Avoid Expensive Taxes and Probate

Should you get a trust instead of a will? In fact, you have to have a will if you are going to create a trust because a trust cannot accomplish everything necessary all on its own, such as naming guardians to your children. A trust may be necessary for business owners or people with large assets. However, there is no estate tax on estates worth less than $3 million in 2017, or $4 million in 2018 and 2019. A trust helps accomplish the following:

  • Easier to leave assets to young children;
  • Avoids probate, which can be expensive and time consuming;
  • Is immune from court challenges;
  • Is not on the public record; and
  • Allows for naming a successor to the trust.

Call Maryland Estate Planning Attorney Tara K. Frame Today

Estate planning is not always a pleasant task, and most people put it off for far too long simply because thinking about death is difficult. However, planning for your loved one’s future after you are gone is important. Contact the Pasadena estate planning attorneys of Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373 to speak with a lawyer about creating a will and a trust to protect your family’s future and to give you peace of mind. Call now to schedule your estate planning strategy session today.