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What is a Will?

Estate Planning Attorney Minnesota- lawyer writing documentIf you’ve ever spent time thinking about your future, you’ve probably seen wills and trusts mentioned. As an estate planning attorney in Minnesota from Johnston Martineau PLLP can explain, wills and trusts are both useful tools when it comes to ensuring your family and friends are cared for after your death. However, the two options have their differences.

When you create a will or a trust, you’re taking an important step towards making life a little easier for your loved ones after your death. But what should you choose? Every estate is different, and it helps if you know what you’re getting your loved ones into when you’re leaving behind a will or a trust. Read this FAQ to get a better understanding of your options.


What is a Will?

A will is a list of beneficiaries and assets and it provides important instructions to the family and friends you leave behind upon your death. The contents of a will can be divided across your family, friends, and anyone else – they can all be named and they can all receive a part of your estate as you see fit. It’s important to leave a will behind, because without a will your loved ones will be completely lost when it comes to dividing whatever you’ve left behind.

However, a will can cause its own fair share of problems for your family and friends. When you leave behind a will, your assets don’t go to their intended recipients immediately. Instead, your beneficiaries need to deal with probate: The process by which your will is authenticated and your final wishes are carried out. Probate involves lengthy legal proceedings and can cost a lot of money, but it’s better than leaving behind no will at all.

One of the positives of a will is the simplicity. You make a will, and you don’t have to think about it. It’s your beneficiaries that have to deal with all the heavy lifting. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have trusts.


What is a Living Trust?

A living trust functions similarly to a will. It’s a comprehensive list of your assets and detailed instructions of for who gets what from your estate. Unlike a will, a trust means naming a third party to handle your estate after you die. And also unlike a will, a trust needs hands-on management over the course of your lifetime. This is what trusts “living” trusts: They’re active when you’re alive.

A trust has one major advantage over a will. There is no need for probate when you rely on a living trust for estate planning. This means a much easier time for your family and friends when it’s time to divide up your estate and dish out whatever you’re leaving behind for your loved ones.


What can an Estate Planning Attorney do for Me?

As we get older we get more questions about what lies ahead in our future, and the future of those we’ll be leaving behind when we die. Fortunately, an estate planning attorney can help you take any measures necessary to keep your estate as simple and straightforward as possible. It’s never too early to start thinking about estate planning. Reach out to an estate planning attorney to learn more.

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