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Wills and trusts offer different benefits

People may put off estate planning for a number of reasons. Some in Michigan may think such a plan is unimportant, while others feel they don't have sufficient assets to make it worthwhile. For some, the thought of creating wills and trusts is overwhelming, and others may be unsure which option will work best for their situation.

One of the more flexible options for an estate plan is to set up a living trust. The trust essentially becomes the owner of the property. However, the person creating the trust, the trustee, maintains control over the assets funded in the trust. When the trustee dies, his or her successor takes over the trust and distributes its assets according to the wishes of the original trustee. This means the assets funded in the trust are not held up for months in probate court.

While a living trust may be more complicated to establish than a will, it carries many other benefits that a will does not. In addition to avoiding the wait and cost of probate, the details of a trust remain confidential, but the contents of a will are available to the public. Those who have simple estates may benefit from the simplicity of a will, but those with complex assets or complicated families may find a living trust is the better alternative.

Once people establish their wills and trusts, it is wise to revisit them periodically to adjust them for any changes their families may have undergone. An estate planning attorney in Michigan can also help them ensure their living trusts are properly funded. Securing the assistance of an attorney can provide one with guidance and advice for creating and amending any estate planning documents appropriate for his or her circumstances.

Source: host.madison.com, "Is a Living Trust Right for You and Your Family?", Maurie Backman, June 27, 2017

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