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Trust and Wills: Why you should have one

Trust and Wills make us address the elephant in the room, death. We carelessly don’t think about death because we feel we have all the time in the world. Usually, we start thinking about death at an older age when we’re closer to a knocking on its door, but death doesn’t discriminate, nor does it wait, unfortunately. We don’t know when that time will be, so we should all take the necessary steps to prepare for the unknown and, in some people’s cases, the known. 

For example, It’s sad that Actor Chadwick Boseman passed on August 28, 2020, from cancer. His family went through such a difficult time only to be faced with a nearly 2-year battle with probate court over his estate. In 2022, it’s being reported that a settlement has been reached, and Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, will evenly split around 2.3 Million with Boseman’s parents, Leroy and Carolyn Boseman. 

Even though his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed probate docs in which she asks to be named administrator of Chadwick’s estate because he didn’t have a will, it took 2 years! Mind you, during those years, they’re grieving. 

Some of you may be wondering why he didn’t set up a will and/or trust before his passing, and that’s a question none of us will know the answer to. What I do know is this is a conversation we need to have with ourselves and our loved ones. I’m no expert but have certain points I want to share to encourage you to do your research and look into a trust and/or will. 

 

What Are They? 

A will is a legal document that states who will inherit your assets and belongings after you pass away.

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement where the owner (also called the grantor or trustor) gives a trustee the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. 

Estate is a person’s property after death.

 

Why are they important 

Trust

  • With a trust, you can avoid probate court. Which can save your family time and money by not being caught in a lawsuit after you’re gone.
  • Trust gives you maximum control over the distribution of your estate that a will can’t provide. 
  • Trust will allow you to distribute assets fairly before and after death. It also allows for long-term arrangements of assets that may be more challenging to split amongst beneficiaries.

Here are more great reasons to have a Trust

 

Will

  • Almost all Wills have to be probated; this is validating your will. Authorizes your executor to distribute your estate to your beneficiaries and pays any taxes your estate may owe. But having a will can streamline the court process and save your loved one’s time and money.
  • You get to choose who will take care of your estate. This person is called the “executor” If you don’t choose, then the court will, and it may not be someone you want. 
  • You can choose who will care for minor children, pets, and/ or digital assets.  

Here are more great reasons to have a Will

 

Do they work together? 

  • Trust and a Will, in many cases, complement each other. However, if there are any issues or conflicts between the two, the Trust will normally override the Will – not the other way around.
  • A Will may be the least expensive and most efficient choice for small estates with easily shared assets and simple inheritances. However, a trust without a will can present problems when assets are outside the trust.
  • A Trust, and a Will can allow for swift asset transfers, maintain confidentiality concerning sensitive assets and directives, and prevent intestacy. 

For example, With a Will, you can leave money to a minor, but it will be a lump sum. What if this minor is not ready to take on this financial responsibility? That’s where a Trust comes in. With a Trust you can space payments and have the minor receive them at certain ages.

Here’s information to learn more about wills and trust

 

Misconceptions

  • You need a mega-million estate even to be concerned about it. Wills and trust are not always about money. You can include anything in them, so don’t think you need to have a lot of property for it to be worth it to you and your loved ones.
  • You only need to worry about getting them when you’re older. That is not true at all. Consider them at any stage in your adult life. Also, they can be updated (if applicable) to apply to any life changes you may go through.  
  • My loved ones will be fine if I don’t. Unfortunately, death can bring out the worst in people. So leaving them without instructions and living it up to your state’s law can be dicey. Even with wills and trust, we’ve heard about arguments with loved ones. At least with a will and/or trust, it has to be followed even if loved ones don’t agree. 
  • I don’t have any family to leave my estate to. The good thing is Trust and Wills are not just for your family. You can leave assets for friends, acquaintances, organizations, etc.  

Inheritance Breakdown (If you don’t have a will in GA)

  • In Georgia, if you die without a will, any assets leftover after your debts are paid off will go to your living relatives.  The law sets out which relatives will inherit your estate. Any assets will go to the state if you have no living relatives.

Check to see how the law works in your state.

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the state who doesn’t know me deciding what to do with my property. I want to continue down this path and find what works for me. There are different kinds of Trust and Wills. Pros and cons to both, so I implore you to do your own research and find a professional to see what would work best for you and your loved ones.

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