When considering your estate plan in Florida, you may wonder if you should use a trust or a will. These are both fundamental elements of estate planning, and each has its unique benefits and potential drawbacks.
To make an informed decision, it is vital to understand how they function and what each can offer in securing your legacy and protecting your loved ones.
The flexibility of a trust
A trust is a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of chosen beneficiaries. One primary advantage of a trust is its flexibility. Once you establish a trust, you can start transferring ownership of assets into it right away. It means that upon your death, those assets will bypass probate court and go directly to your beneficiaries, which can save time and money.
Additionally, if you set up a revocable living trust, you can change the terms of the trust or dissolve it completely during your lifetime. A trust also provides privacy as its terms do not become part of the public record.
The simplicity of a will
A will is a document that outlines how you want to distribute your property after your death. Wills are simpler to create than trusts and are often less expensive. They allow you to name guardians for minor children and leave instructions on how to pay debts and taxes.
However, a will becomes part of the public record once it goes through probate. It can also take longer for your beneficiaries to receive their inheritances because of the probate process.
Choosing between a trust or a will depends on your individual circumstances. If privacy is a priority and you want to avoid probate, you may lean toward a trust. But if your estate is smaller and you do not mind the public nature of a will, then creating a will could be a simpler solution.