Individuals may be able to benefit from having both wills and trusts in their estate plan. However, it is important for Georgia residents and others to understand the key differences between the two estate planning tools. If an asset is controlled by a will, it will have be distributed under the guidance of a probate judge. If an asset is controlled by a trust, there is no need to go through probate.
This may be ideal for those who are looking to transfer assets in a timely and affordable manner. Of course, it is important to note that the cost of creating the trust itself is generally higher than the cost of creating a will. As the terms of a trust are not made public, it is harder to challenge a trust than it is to challenge a will.
Furthermore, trusts are harder to challenge because the law isn’t as clear as to how a person would do so. The terms of a will do not go into effect until its creator passes whereas the terms of a trust are effective when the document is executed. When creating a trust, there needs to be a plan to fund it and title assets in its name. Otherwise, the trust document itself has no value.
Those who want assets transferred in a timely and private manner may be better served by creating a trust. Typically, only a trust’s creator, trustee and beneficiary are privy to its terms. This means that family members, media members or others won’t necessarily know the details of a person’s inheritance. An estate planning attorney might be able to help a person create a trust or review an existing one. This may help to ensure that it meets a person’s current and future needs.