Pros and cons of wills and trusts for retired men and women

Residents of Florida who are retired or currently contemplating retirement may be interested to read the details of a recently published article. The article outlines the nature of both wills and trusts, while also highlights the benefits and drawbacks between the two.

A will is a legal document that communicates the wishes of someone who has died. It takes effect after a person dies and describes the manner in which the deceased's assets should be distributed.

A trust is also described as legal relationship. The difference between the two is that the trust takes effect immediately upon creation and determines the disposition of a person's assets both before and after death.

A trust has the distinct advantage of avoiding going through the process of Probate Court and its associated expense. It also carries the advantage of keeping the deceased's financial records private.

The report points out that the creation of a trust carries additional responsibilities such as granting legal title of assets to the trust. In addition, trusts are both more complex and expensive to create.

Another issue for consideration is dissolution. In the event of a change in heart, wills are far easier than trusts to dissolve. The article concludes that while either a will or a trust may be appropriate for estate planning purposes, depending on the individual's circumstances, neither is the best choice for all situations. The advice is to make a choice that reflects the well-reasoned consideration of personal circumstances, family structure and state law.

Many persons facing similar circumstances may seek the counsel of a family law attorney. The attorney may be well versed in matching the individualized needs of any situation to the best available option based on a person's specific intentions.

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

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