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The differences between trusts and wills

Estate planning isn't something that many people like to think about, but it is something that is necessary to ensure that your final wishes are followed. During your estate planning process, you might have to decide if you need to have a will or a trust. While both documents can be important for estate planning, they are decidedly different. Michigan residents might like to know about how the two differ.

One of the most obvious ways that a trust and a will differ is that a will typically requires that your heirs go through probate court. Additionally, wills can be contested. Trusts, on the other hand, give you control over your assets. A trust can let you stipulate the amount of money a minor will get, as well as setting when and how the minor will get the funds. The downside to this is that a trust can't be dissolved like a will can.

If you decide to use a trust, you will have to appoint a trustee to manage the trust. A trust created while you are alive is a living trust. You can be both the trustee and the beneficiary in this case. Your assets would be funded by you re-titling the assets to be owned by the trust.

If you decide to use a will, you will simply complete a legal document that lists how you want your estate distributed. The distribution occurs after your death.

There are a lot of nuances to consider when trying to decide which is the most appropriate estate planning document for your needs. Seeking the advice of an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney might help you to get answers to your questions so you can make an informed decision.

Source: Forbes.com, "Wills vs. Trusts: What's Best For Retirees?" Thomas and Robert Fross, Feb. 18, 2014

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