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Wills vs. Trusts

Estate Planning is not a subject that is comfortable to discuss with your loved ones but it is an absolute must in order to facilitate the preservation of your assets and to make certain the people that mean the most to you are taken care of upon you becoming incapacitated or your passing. Of equal importance as preserving your assets and looking out for your loved ones is engaging the right lawyer that will educate you about your options so you can make an informed choice. The basics of that process is becoming familiar with the difference between Wills and Trusts, two of the most recognized terms when it comes to estate planning. But do you really know the difference? Below is a very brief definition of each term and after reading each, you will be able to discern the difference between the two.


A Will is a legal document that provides for named beneficiaries that you chose, that will inherit your property upon your demise. In addition, the Will provides for the appointment of an individual to ensure that the mandates of the Will are carried out.  The enforcement and validity of the Will becomes effective only upon your death and only covers property that is owned solely by you or jointly with another as tenants in common. The Will does not affect any of your assets that are owned as jointly with rights of survivorship, by the entirety or assets held in a Trust. In a Will you have the ability to appoint a guardian for your minor children, care for pets and provide a directive concerning your remains. Although creating a Will is faster and less expensive than a Trust, the benefits of a Trust are greatly realized in avoiding your Will from being open to inspection by the public and made part of a public record, through the expensive and time consuming probate process.


Trusts are more complicated and can be very complex, but a very briefly, a Trust can hold title to a variety of assets – stocks, life insurance policies, real property, cash, etc. The Trust is managed by you or an individual or company you appoint. Unlike a Will, a Trust becomes effective immediately allowing the Trust to be used for disability planning as well as estate planning. A significant advantage of a Trust is that you prevent your family from having to deal with the costly lengthy public probate process. Do you really want the public to know what you were worth and who received your assets? Also of significance is the ability to prevent the distribution of Trust property to minor children until an appropriate age, something a Will cannot accomplish. Want to keep your wealth in the family and prevent it from falling into the hands of an in-law? A Trust provides that protection. To summarize, a Trust will allow your loved ones to avoid probate thus preventing your financial and family matters from becoming public record, a Trust allows you to plan in the event you become incapacitated so you can control the destiny of your assets during incapacitation and after you have passed.

At Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC our Rhode Island estate planning lawyers can provide you with a comprehensive analysis of your assets and recommend an estate plan that suits your family’s needs. Our Rhode Island estate and probate lawyers will advise you on the best methods to avoid estate taxes to preserve wealth and assets. Don’t put the burden on your loved ones, contact a Rhode Island will and trust lawyer at Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC today before it’s too late at 401-300-4055.


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