Estate Planning — Which Should I Get: A Will or A Trust?

Most people do not have any estate planning so it is good to know you need to do something.  But what?  Do you need a will or a trust?

I don’t know — it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish and where you are right now.

Think of a will or a trust as a “vehicle” — the point is to get you to where you want to go.

A will does this in one way and a trust can do it in another way. And there are many types of wills and trusts — how they are set up, what they say, etc.

You need to find out your own goals, your own family situation, and then figure out (on your own or with the help of someone with expertise in the law) what’s the best course of action to get to where you want to end up.

Here are some of the questions or issues that help us decide what type of vehicle or tool do we need.

  • Do you have children with special needs?
  • Are you worried about long term care?
  • Are you concerned about if your child has a divorce?
  • Concerned about your spouse remarrying and all the assets going to the new spouse instead of your children?
  • Do you want a court to decide how to handle your financial affairs if you become disabled or do you want someone you select to do this? How about after you pass away?

There are a lot of issues and questions — no right or wrong answer as everyone is different. That’s why it normally is not a good idea to buy a “form” document — it may be fine for certain folks in certain situations but is it good for you in your unique situation?

As a side note, normally we do a will if we do a trust but you don’t always need a trust just because you get a will.

You need to figure out what plan you are going to do while you are “vertical” (i.e. you are competent) — not when you are horizontal (in a hospital or nursing home bed)….

If you know that are ready to do your planning for your family, give us a call at 205-879-2447 or you can always contact us through this website and we’ll be happy to set up a consultation by phone, video or in person — whichever is most convenient for you.

John G. Watts
Watts & Herring, LLC
Birmingham and Madison Offices in Alabama
We represent consumers from all parts of Alabama

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