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Should an estate be passed through a trust or a will?

Especially for a wealthy Michigan family, it can be difficult to know how to pass wealth along to the next generation and if it should be done through a will or a trust. Estate planning is a vital financial step for anyone, no matter the income level. However, for those planning on bequeathing a significant amount of money or assets, it is best to ensure all documentation for a will or trust is in place and legally binding.

The death of a loved one can be complicated and emotionally challenging, even when there is not a large amount of money involved. However, wealthy Michigan residents may wish to consider several factors when estate planning. First, it is important to determine if it is best to use a will or a trust. There are legal differences between the two options; one of them being that a will is considered a probate case which typically becomes part of the public record, while a trust does not have to go through probate and will not be open to public record.

Beneficiaries should be specifically identified and all assets that will be distributed should be listed. If property is to be sold or money donated, that is also an integral part of estate planning. By planning all of these things in advance, it can prevent arguments over debt or wealth being passed down incorrectly.

Estate planning is especially important to those with a higher net worth. Before it is decided if a will or a trust is needed, all options should be considered. Often, the distinction between whether a will or trust is more appropriate should be made on a case by case basis, according to the details of the individual assets and hand. No matter the manner in which an estate is passed on, it is typically of the utmost importance to have a plan in place for the future.

Source: Florida Weekly, Plan your estate, no matter what the size of your assets, Jeannette Showalter, Feb. 5, 2014

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