Trusts & Wills
The main difference between Wills and Trusts lies in the ease of disposition of assets. Both of them direct the process of distributing assets to heirs. However, leaving only a Will in Massachusetts necessitates the estate passing through Probate Court, which can be a months-long, expensive process. Having a Trust means the transfer of assets upon death or disability can be managed quickly and easily.
Many possibilities exist for distribution of assets. If you choose in advance who will receive your property and when, you can be confident that a court won’t have to decide. If you die without having created an estate plan (called dying “intestate”), without a Will and Trust, Massachusetts law will use the Intestacy Statute to decide how to transfer your assets to the person or persons it considers your beneficiary(-ies), not to those you would have wanted to be.
Creating and funding a Trust is not just for the wealthy: No matter your financial status, you can attain the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your assets will transfer to your survivors according to the terms of the Trust agreement.
A Trust written by McManus Estate Planning LLC can manage your assets in a way that guarantees your estate will avoid the Probate Court process; provide for your spouse and children; create income for a beneficiary; lessen the state and federal tax burden; grow or conserve assets; protect and provide support for children, whether minors or disabled; protect your beneficiaries from debt; and control assets after death. Another goal is to help you make certain your financial and medical choices are followed in the case of death or disability.
Massachusetts law provides that anyone at least 18 years of age can create an estate plan, Will, and Trust as long as she or he is of “sound mind” and is not under the undue influence of another. It is best to give serious consideration to your estate plan and to create it with the help and guidance of an experienced estate-planning attorney.
Joint Wills are not allowed under Massachusetts law. Even if a couple owns jointly all property, each spouse must have a separate Will to ensure that the property transfers to the survivor. Having a Trust ensures tax benefits that having only a Will might lose.
McManus Estate Planning LLC recommends reviewing an estate plan every other year, or more often if you have experienced marriage, divorce, or separation in the intervening time period. Also consider as reasons to review your estate plan the birth or death of a child or grandchild; buying or selling your home or other changes in your assets; relationship changes with beneficiaries, or changes in their needs; or tax law changes.