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Wills vs. Trusts: Which One Is Right for You?

Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC Jan. 29, 2024

Hands of lawyer pointing at paper for person signing contractWhen it comes to safeguarding your family's financial future and ensuring your wishes are carried out precisely, estate planning is an indispensable tool. This process goes beyond simply writing a will—it's about making informed decisions on how your assets should be distributed, who should care for your children if they're minors, and what happens if you become incapacitated. Estate planning provides a protective shield around your family's long-term financial security and minimizes potential conflicts after your demise. Through a comprehensive estate plan, you can rest assured knowing that your legacy will be preserved and your loved ones will be taken care of in accordance with your desires.

Navigating the intricacies of estate planning requires legal experience and understanding, and that's where Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg comes in. Serving Bingham Farms and the metro Detroit area, Attorney Rotenberg has dedicated his practice to helping individuals and families prepare for their future. With a keen understanding of each client's unique needs and goals, he guides them through the legal maze of estate planning, ensuring their assets are well-protected and their wishes are respected. Whether it's drafting wills, setting up trusts, preparing powers of attorney or advance directives, Attorney Rotenberg tailors his services to fit each client's circumstances, making the process of estate planning seamless and efficient. His goal is simple yet profound: to provide peace of mind today for a secure future tomorrow. 

Understanding Wills 

A will, in its essence, is a legal document that clearly outlines your desires regarding how your assets should be distributed after your death. It's like a roadmap that guides your executor (the person you designate to carry out your instructions), ensuring that everything goes smoothly and according to your wishes. If you have minor children, your will also lets you appoint their guardian. 

Asset Distribution: Through a will, you dictate who gets what from your estate. This clear instruction helps to avoid disagreements and conflicts among your beneficiaries. It's like having a detailed recipe that leaves no room for misunderstanding, helping ensure that your assets end up exactly where you intend them to be. 

Probate Process: When you pass away with a will, your estate must go through a process called probate. This procedure involves the validation of your will, settling any debts or taxes you owe, and distributing your assets as per your instructions. However, probate can be a lengthy and costly affair, so it's crucial to keep this aspect in mind while planning your estate.

Flexibility: One of the major advantages of a will is its adaptability. Life is unpredictable and full of changes, and a will allows you to easily modify your estate plan to reflect these changes. Whether it's new assets, beneficiaries, or simply a change of heart, a will gives you the flexibility to adjust your plan as you see fit. 

Delving Into Trusts 

On the other hand, a trust is a legal arrangement that lets you transfer your assets to a trustee who manages them for your beneficiaries. Unlike a will, a trust can come into effect while you're still alive and continue even after your death.

Asset Protection: Trusts offer a unique advantage of protecting your assets from the probate process. This means that your loved ones can receive their inheritance faster and more privately, without having to go through the lengthy and often public probate process.

Privacy: Speaking of privacy, trusts are not public documents like wills. This means the specifics of your assets and beneficiaries can remain confidential, which might be an attractive feature for those who value their privacy. 

Incapacity Planning: Trusts also allow for the management of your assets in case you become incapacitated. By appointing a successor trustee, you can rest assured that your affairs will be managed according to your wishes, even if you're unable to do so yourself. 

Seek Trusted Legal Counsel  

The ultimate decision between a will and a trust depends on your personal circumstances and objectives. Consulting with the experienced estate planning attorney of Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC can provide invaluable guidance, helping you assess your assets, understand your wishes, and navigate the process of creating a comprehensive estate plan that best serves you and your loved ones.