Time to Revisit Trusts
If you are reviewing your estate plan, it may be time to consider whether a Trust is right for you. A Trust can be implemented, or later amended, without the need for witnesses or the formalities involved in the execution of a Last Will and Testament. Both a Last Will and Testament and a Trust are vehicles for the distribution of your assets after you pass away. Either strategy permits you to identify your beneficiaries and control who will be responsible for gathering your assets, paying your final expenses and debts and then distributing what remains to those whom you love. But there are several distinguishing factors. While a Will does not become effective until after you pass away, a Trust can afford control of your assets during your lifetime and will enable someone you have chosen to manage your financial affairs if you lose the ability to do so. A Trust also remains private while Wills must be publicly filed. A Trust can also assist with estate tax planning or Medicaid planning.
One of the most important differences between a Will and a Trust is that a Trust, if properly funded, avoids probate. It eliminates the need for any Court involvement in your estate. As discussed elsewhere in this issue, even before the coronavirus, Courts were experiencing delays. The additional delays caused by the closure of our Courts during this time will add weeks or even months to the administration of estates, now and in the future.