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Including wills and trusts in an estate plan

Wills and trusts are both important types of estate documents that can help people in Louisiana to plan for the future and provide for their loved ones after they pass away. A full estate plan will often include a will as well as one or several trusts. While one of these documents may be the major backbone of the estate, both can play a major role in properly ensuring that a person's assets are distributed correctly. There are different reasons why people may choose to focus primarily on a will or on a trust to pass on funds and property.

Wills are public documents that go through the probate process. This means that they are open to the public and can be challenged in court. There may also be additional delays associated with probate, and court costs can sometimes eat up a significant chunk of the estate. On the other hand, wills can be simpler and easier for the person passing on an estate. When there are smaller sums involved and little conflict, the probate process may be largely routine.

There are a number of reasons for people to consider trusts, however. In addition to providing higher levels of privacy protection and a probate-free path to transferring wealth, special provisions in trusts can allow people to have assets managed to benefit minor children or people with special needs. Trusts can also provide additional protection for beneficiaries who may have creditors or other challenges because the principal can be managed by a trustee in the interests of the beneficiary.

When people create trusts, they should also generally have a will to ensure their entire estate is properly passed on. An estate planning lawyer might work with people to develop a comprehensive plan and the documents to help them achieve their goals.

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