Plopper Law

Trusts & Wills : Everything You Need To Know.

trusts & wills

Did you know that 76% of people make an estate plan to protect their families? Estate planning is vital to make sure your family is taken care of. It ensures your assets go where you want. Trusts and wills play a key role in this.

For the best coverage, experts recommend having both a will and a trust. This way, you’ll reduce taxes and have peace of mind.

Trusts help lower taxes and protect your wealth. They can safeguard your assets from things like divorce. Wills, on the other hand, are important for assigning guardians if your kids are still young. They also make it easier to distribute your estate. Plus, they give clear instructions to those in charge of your will.

Key Takeaways:

  • 76% of people create an estate plan to protect their families.
  • Trusts help with tax benefits.
  • Wills lay out who gets what and who cares for children.
  • Trusts keep your assets private and safe.
  • Having both wills and trusts is crucial for a full plan.

If you want to set up your estate plan, here in Plopper & Partner LLP, we can help. We offer advice tailored to your needs. You can start with a free consultation to understand your options better.

Introduction to Trusts and Wills

Knowing about estate planning is key to making sure your assets go where you want after you pass. A will and a trust are vital in a good estate plan. They decide who gets what, handle taxes, and avoid issues in court.

A will tells how to divide your assets when you die. It picks someone to carry out these wishes, ensuring things happen as you planned. If you don’t have a will, the court will decide how your property is divided.

On the flip side, trusts help you give away assets to certain people now or later. These can hold things like money, stocks, property, or even personal items. They protect against some taxes, keep assets safe from debts, and allow for more control over your stuff.

legal arrangement

Trusts bring a lot of benefits, like safeguarding against debts, cutting taxes, and keeping things private. There are many kinds, such as living trusts and trusts for charity. Working with a trust needs a legal expert. They make sure everything follows the law and meets your unique plans.

Allows distribution of assets during and after lifeActivates after death
Can include various assetsSpecifies asset distribution after death
Protects assets from creditorsRequires an executor to manage the estate
Can avoid probate courtMay involve probate court if not managed well

To wrap up, choosing a will, a trust, or both is an essential step in managing your estate. Our expert estate planning team can guide you through this. Understanding the importance of these tools ensures your finances and loved ones are well cared for.

Differences Between Trusts and Wills

Knowing the difference between wills and trusts is key for smart estate planning. A will states how your assets are shared after you die. A trust controls assets during life and after death. Wills work after you die, but trusts start as soon as you create and finance them. Let’s explore their meanings and what makes them different.

Definition of a Will

A will is a legal paper that shows who gets your assets when you die. It can also name guardians for your kids and handle debts. A will goes through probate, which might be slow and expensive if not done right. Making a will can be free or cost up to $199 online. Using a full estate planning kit makes things easier and lets you have more say.

Definition of a Trust

A trust is a special setup where someone (the trustee) holds onto your stuff for others who will get it later. Trusts can be changed (revocable) or not (irrevocable). A living trust is good for people with a lot of things or money. A trust from a will starts working after you pass. Setting up a trust can cost between $139 and $440. It helps avoid probate and makes sure your wishes are met.

When They Take Effect

estate planning goals

One big difference between wills and trusts is when they start working. Wills start after you’re gone and might need court checking. This can take time and money. Trusts work right away and help with your things while you’re still here. This can prevent probate and follow your plans closely. These benefits fit well with bigger estate plans.

ActivationPosthumousImmediate upon funding
Probate ProcessRequiredAvoidable
Cost Range$0 – $199$139 – $440
Impact on IncapacityNoneProvides Provisions
Typical UseAsset distribution after deathManaging assets during life and after death

Deciding on a will or trust depends on your needs, how complex your estate is, and what you want for your estate plan. Each one helps with managing and giving out your assets in different ways.

Advantages of Having a Will

A will is key for those who want to easily assign where their things go, pick who takes care of their kids, and outline last wishes. This important paper is a binding way to make sure your wishes about your property are followed. At Plopper & Partner LLP, we recommend a carefully made will. It cuts down on family fights and helps smoothly hand over your stuff.

Legal Guardianship of Minors

Having a will lets you choose a guardian for your kids. Without it, a court might decide who raises them, which could go against what you want. Making sure a trusted person who shares your values looks after your children can give you great peace of mind.

Simplifying Estate Distribution

With a will, you say exactly how your things should be shared. This makes sure family doesn’t disagree or get confused when you’re gone. It also means your home, bank accounts, and personal items will be given out as you wish.

Providing Clear Instructions

Your will is a clear guide for your last wishes, from how you’re laid to rest to who gets certain special things. It stops confusion and makes sure your money and personal stuff are handled just right. This is really helpful in making sure every part of your estate is managed the way you want.

CostLess expensive initiallyMore expensive initially
ComplexitySimple to draftMore complex
PrivacyBecomes public after probateKeeps financial information private
Guardianship of MinorsAppointed through willNot applicable
Estate DistributionInstructions detailed in willInstructions detailed in trust document

Advantages of Setting Up a Trust

Setting up a trust provides several key benefits. It is often chosen for managing *financial affairs.* It helps avoid the probate process, keeps things private, and helps control assets through *irrevocable trust.*

Avoiding Probate

A revocable trust can avoid the need for probate, a slow and costly validation process. Probate can delay asset distribution to heirs by one year, on average. A living trust cuts this time, often to just weeks. This makes trusts ideal for fast asset distribution, especially with help from a probate attorney.

Protecting Privacy

Trusts, especially a revocable trust, offer a big privacy advantage. Wills are made available to the public but a living trust stays private. This keeps away unwanted solicitors and greedy heirs. Around 20% of Americans use trusts to protect their *financial affairs* from prying eyes.

Managing Incapacity

Trusts also help manage assets if someone becomes incapacitated. With a successor trustee in place, the control over the assets smoothly transitions. It secures the handling of *financial affairs* without the need for court orders. This keeps a person’s estate plan running seamlessly.

Even though creating a trust costs more than a simple will, the benefits are long-term. The savings in time and avoiding legal fees are significant. Plus, the confidentiality and maintenance of assets are crucial for estate planning. 

Types of Trusts

When thinking about estate planning, it’s key to know the different trust types. They’re vital for handling and safeguarding assets well. Let’s explore the common trusts used in estate planning for various needs.

Revocable Living Trusts

A revocable living trust gives you the power to change or end it while you’re alive. It avoids the time-consuming probate, making asset transfer smooth and private. This trust is for those wanting to keep asset control but also plan effectively for the future.

Irrevocable Trusts

An irrevocable trust, once set up, can’t usually be changed or revoked. Despite this, it offers protection from creditors, helps with Medicaid, and reduces taxes on large estates. It’s a critical tool for serious estate planning, giving significant protection and tax benefits.

Testamentary Trusts

A testamentary trust is established by a will and is only active after the maker’s death. It organizes asset distribution according to specific wishes. This ensures beneficiaries get their share as intended. It’s useful for ensuring minors or others receive inheritances safely over time.

Special Needs Trusts

Setting up a special needs trust is vital for those who rely on disability benefits. This trust helps ensure the disabled family member gets needed support without losing public benefits. It’s crucial for estate planning to maintain financial security and not risk important benefits.

Making use of diverse trusts in estate planning brings comfort. It guarantees that your assets are well-kept and secure for future use.

Trusts & Wills: Which One Do You Need?

Choosing between a trust, a will, or both depends on a few things. This includes how complex your estate is, what you want to happen with your assets, and how much tax your estate will face. Simple wills are good for basic estate plans but don’t have as many features as other plans. These include testamentary trust wills and living trusts.

Simple wills work for easy situations. Joint wills can save time and money before your death. But, they could make things harder during probate. Living wills are about your medical choices. They need to show you were of sound mind. They often include advance healthcare directives for a full plan.

Testamentary trust wills and living trusts are great for beneficiary care long term. They help with naming beneficiaries in your plan.

Wondering which plan is right for you? Here’s a quick look at the main options:

Type of Will or TrustKey FeaturesBest For
Simple WillEasy to amend, limited provisionsBasic estate planning, guardianship for minors
Testamentary Trust WillAsset distribution via trust for minors, annual probateLong-term asset growth, underage beneficiaries’ care
Joint WillIrrevocable post-spouse death, save time & costMarried couples, straightforward succession
Living WillFocus on medical decisions, sound mind requirementEnd-of-life planning, preventing treatments
Living TrustAvoids probate, manages incapacityStreamlining inheritance, special needs children

Using different legal tools together can fully cover your needs and your family’s. This safeguards your desires. With careful beneficiary designation and organized asset distribution, you ensure everything goes as you wish.

How to Create a Will

Creating a will is an important part of planning your estate. It’s a legal document that shows how to share your things when you’re gone. This guide will make the process clearer for you.

Start by listing all of your assets. Include things like homes, items you own, any ideas you’ve created, money, and special items. You should also gather important papers, like bank records and deeds, for a fair sharing of your stuff.

Choosing the right executor is key. The executor is in charge of making sure your will is carried out. Pick someone you trust to handle money. It’s a good idea to have a second choice, too.

If you have kids under 18, naming a guardian is crucial. Choose someone you know will raise them well. Pick a person who can afford it and physically take care of them. Have a second choice, as well.

“A notarized will may not be the most effective way to fulfill final wishes as it may not meet all legal requirements or be legally binding.”
  • Create a comprehensive list of all assets.
  • Appoint a dependable executor.
  • Select legal guardians for minor children.
  • Determine your beneficiaries, ensuring that asset distribution is clear.
  • Add a residuary clause to distribute any undistributed assets.
  • Sign the will with witnesses to validate it legally.
  • Store the legal document in a secure place such as a safety deposit box or fireproof safe.
  • Update your will periodically after major life events like marriage, divorce, or the birth of children.

Be sure your will covers the basics. Include a title and name an executor. Define who will look after your kids and list your assets. Make it clear who gets what. Sign it with witnesses and you’re set.

You have options for creating your will. You can use online services, a hired attorney, or do it yourself with a kit. Online tools are cheaper but might not be as detailed. Lawyers can offer more guidance but cost more. Kits are affordable but may only work for simple plans. Remember, courts might not accept handwritten wills (holographic wills) if they’re not clear.

Make sure your will is updated. Check and change it every few years or after big life changes. If you’re 18 or older, own things or have savings, are working, or have children, a will is very important.

How to Set Up a Trust

Setting up a trust is important. It involves several key steps, like picking a good trustee. These steps help make your trust legally solid and well-funded. We’ll explain each part so you can set up your trust with ease.

Choosing a Trustee

Picking the right trustee is critical. This person or group will look after the trust’s assets. They should act fairly and may even suggest an estate planning lawyer.

Funding the Trust

After choosing a trustee, you need to fund the trust. This means putting assets like money, property, and stocks into it. Doing this right ensures your assets go where you want without delay.

Legal Requirements and Costs

There are legal steps and costs to creating and maintaining a trust. Setting one up may cost $499 to $599, depending if it’s for an individual or a couple. A third of trusts offer lawyer help.

Also, trusts can cut down on taxes for wealthier estates. This can save a lot of money over time.

In short, setting up a trust means picking a trustee, adding assets to it, and handling the legal parts and costs. Working with experts, like estate planning lawyers, is smart. They can guide you through the whole process.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Creating an estate plan is key to making sure things go how you want. But, many errors can cause trouble later on. It’s smart to keep your plan up to date and to get advice from a lawyer who knows estate planning. This can save you from problems down the road.

Not Updating Your Will or Trust

Many people forget to update their estate plans over the years. They often don’t make any changes for five years or more. This can mean your plan is outdated. It might not include new life events, changes in finances, or updates to tax laws.

Failing to Fund the Trust

Not moving your assets into your trust is a common mistake. This step, known as funding the trust, is crucial. Assets that aren’t in the trust can make things harder for your loved ones later on. An unfunded trust might not work as you intended. Funding the trust the right way can make distributing your estate much smoother.

Not Consulting an Estate Planning Attorney

Getting help from a legal pro is vital when planning your estate. A skilled attorney can guide you through the laws and offer tax advice. They make sure who gets what matches your real wishes, protecting your family and assets. They help avoid costly mistakes.

Common MistakeImpactSolution
Not Updating Estate PlansOutdated beneficiary designations and missed life changesRegular plan reviews and updates
Failing to Fund the TrustUnfunded or improperly funded trustsTransfer assets promptly and correctly
Not Consulting an AttorneyLegal and tax complicationsSeek professional legal advice


Trusts and wills are essential for a full estate plan. They do different jobs but together, they protect your family’s future. Trust & Will is a great choice for estate planning. They have helped many people since 2017.

Your choice between a will and a trust depends on how complex your estate is. Wills are simpler but go through probate which can be slow and expensive. Trusts are more private and protect your assets from debts. Trust & Will offers wills for $199 for you and $299 for a couple. These include important documents like a will, a living will, a HIPAA form, and power of attorney.

It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer for sound advice on your estate plan. Trust & Will offers easy-to-understand, low-priced plans that protect you well. Remember to update your plan every three to five years or after big life changes. If you want to protect your family’s future, consider chatting with experts for free advice on estate planning.


What are the main purposes of trusts and wills in estate planning?

Trusts and wills are key in managing your assets after you’re gone. They make sure your wealth goes where you want it to. This process also helps in lowering the taxes your estate might face.

How does “Plopper & Partner LLP” assist with estate planning?

At “Plopper & Partner LLP,” we provide expert advice and consultations. We help make the complex world of trusts and wills easy to understand. Our goal is to achieve your estate planning goals effectively.

What is a will?

A will is a legal plan for your belongings after you pass. It lays out who gets what and can name guardians for children. Wills become active when the person who wrote it passes away.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal setup for managing your assets. It works with a person you trust (a trustee) to ensure others benefit as directed. They can start working before or after the person creating the trust passes away.

What are the differences between wills and trusts?

Wills and trusts differ in when they start working and what they do. Wills act after death, while trusts can work before and after. Trusts can avoid a court process called probate, keep your wishes private, and handle your things if you can’t.

What are the advantages of having a will?

Wills make the process of dividing your assets smoother. They also clearly state who takes care of your children and what your final wishes are. A good will means your plans are followed as you wanted.

What are the benefits of setting up a trust?

Trusts offer several advantages. They skip the probate process, they offer more privacy, and they can keep helping manage your assets if you’re unable to. For certain estate planning goals, trusts can also help keep creditors away.

What are the different types of trusts available?

The options for trusts are many. There are revocable living trusts that you can change, irrevocable trusts for tax benefits, and more. The kind you choose depends on what you need, including trusts for loved ones with special needs.

How do I decide whether to use a trust or a will for my estate plan?

Deciding between a trust and a will depends on your estate’s complexity and your plans. An estate planning lawyer can make this straightforward. They will help you choose the best fit for you and those you care about.

What steps are involved in creating a will?

When making a will, you list your belongings, pick someone to carry out your wishes, decide who gets your things, and may choose guardians for children. A lawyer can ensure your will meets all legal requirements and is strong.

How do I set up a trust?

Setting up a trust means picking someone you trust to manage it, moving your assets into it, and following legal steps.

What common mistakes should be avoided in estate planning?

Forgetting to update your will or trust, neglecting to put money or property into the trust, and not seeking legal advice are common pitfalls. Talking to an expert regularly keeps your plan in top shape and prevents avoidable issues.
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