When it comes to estate planning, you have two main options. You can either set up a will or you can create a trust. There are many reasons to use one over the other, and most people end up using both for different possessions. This does raise the question, however, of what a trust does that a will does not do. This guide will go over what you should not expect your will to do.
What a Will Does not Do
- Avoid Probate – When a will is executed, there is a period of time at the beginning called probate. This is when economic and administrative tasks are completed. Probate is usually not long, but if you do not like the idea of your loved ones waiting to inherit what you want to leave them, then a trust might be better.
- Avoid Taxation – Wills are subject to estate taxation. Sometimes trusts are not subject to taxation, although sometimes they are as well.
- Set Conditions – The biggest advantage a trust offers over a will is the ability to set conditions on certain possessions. For example, you can leave a grandchild a car, sum of money, or house depending on how old they are at the time. This is something a will cannot do.
- Funeral Instructions – A will cannot provide instructions for your funeral or final resting place. This is also something that a trust cannot do.
There are also a few special types of property that you cannot include in a will. The most common types of property that are like this are the contents of a living trust, pension plan money, and beneficiary property.
What a Will Can Do
In addition to being a way to leave certain properties to certain individual loved ones, there are a few other things that a will does. These aspects are why it is a good idea to have a will, even if you plan to use a trust for the majority of your estate.
A will can provide instructions for children and pets. If you have minor children, then you need a will to designate who will become their guardian in the event of your untimely death. Additionally, your will determines who is your executor. Essentially, this individual will make decisions on your behalf that pertain to your estate. The main reason probate may be longer than normal is if an executor not named. A Sacramento estate lawyer will be able to tell you more about wills and trusts.
Thanks to Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and the limitations of a will.