By Chris Meyer
Many people think that Wills and Trusts are the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there are similarities, there are some very important differences. A Will is a very basic document that simply expresses the wishes of the deceased to the Probate Court. It does not avoid probate. The Executor who oversees the dispersement of the estate must follow a strict set of guidelines, keep meticulous records and report every action to the Probate Court. As such, these actions and the contents of the estate are a public record, in other words, they are NOT private. Any estate that is probated may be accessible to the public and with the convenience of the internet today, anyone may be able to access the details of a probated estate in many counties from the comfort of their own home!
The assets of a Trust on the other hand, completely avoid probate and public knowledge. A pre-appointed Trustee simply disperses the estate according to the wishes of the decedent which are outlined in the Trust. The Trustee does not have to report to the Probate Court and consequently the estate can remain private. In addition, the Trustee does not have to post bond. Other advantages of a Trust are that it can be customized for special situations, help maximize your estate tax deductions and even help you to preserve your assets from the Medicaid spenddown.
All estates are different, and there are many different types of Trusts that can be created in order to best suit your wishes after you pass away. If you would like to schedule a free one-hour consultation to see one of our attorneys, please contact our office at 1-800-798-5297. Our offices are located in Monroe, Sidney, Chillicothe, and Centerburg. Also, be sure to Like us on Facebook in order to keep up-to-date with our most recent blogs about a wide variety of estate planning and nursing home protection aspects.