What trusts can do that wills cannot

People in Georgia who are creating estate plans may wonder whether they should use trusts instead. A trust may offer a number of advantages over a will, one of which is avoiding the potentially costly and lengthy probate process. Trust assets can be passed directly to beneficiaries without requiring a probate court to get involved.

Trusts also allow people to manage and protect their assets for their beneficiaries. For example, individuals can set up trusts that shield their assets from creditors, bankruptcies and even divorce while still enabling their beneficiaries to access the money. A trust can also provide for a relative with special needs without endangering that person's access to government benefits. If a person has minor children, setting up a trust will allow them to receive assets without court intervention. If a parent creates a will instead, the court will have to appoint someone to manage his or her assets.

Trusts can also reduce estate taxes. If a person leaves his or her large estate to a spouse in a will, a significant portion of it might go towards paying for taxes.

Trusts are powerful tools that offer many benefits that are not just reserved for wealthy people. A trust can be set up to donate to a charity, reduce taxes on a home or preserve wealth for several generations. A person who is creating an estate plan may want to speak with an attorney. A lawyer may be able to offer valuable advice about his or her specific situation. For example, many people aren't aware of beneficiary designations. Assets like retirement accounts and life insurance are distributed via these documents, and attorneys can help make sure they are consistent with their clients' wills and trusts.

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