What You Need to Know About Wills and Living Trusts in Maryland

If you are someone who is looking into creating a comprehensive estate plan that best serves you and your family, you most likely have several questions. Oftentimes, our clients ask us, first and foremost, about wills, trusts, and what the difference is between them. Both of these documents are fantastic ways to preserve and protect your hard-earned assets, though they also both have different functions. Please continue reading and speak with our knowledgeable Maryland estate planning attorney to learn more about wills, trusts, and how they may benefit your family in the long run. Here are some of the questions you may have:

Why should I write a will?

Wills are the cornerstone of all estate plans, for several reasons. Some of the main purposes of crafting a will are as follows:

  • A will allows you to appoint an executor to ensure your assets are distributed as you would have intended upon your passing. 
  • You may also appoint a guardian in your will if you have a minor child. A guardian can finish raising your child if you pass untimely. 
  • Wills inform executors about how you would like for them to distribute your assets once you pass away. 
  • You can name beneficiaries, or the individuals you wish to inherit your assets once you pass in your will.

That being said, though wills are fantastic tools, they do not cover all property, which is why you should also create a living trust. Additionally, oftentimes, wills enter probate, and creating a trust can help your family avoid probate altogether, as long as it is drafted with an experienced attorney.

Why should I create a living trust?

When you establish a trust, you are establishing a legal relationship between the trustee you appoint and one of your beneficiaries. Your trustee will manage the certain assets included in your trust for the beneficiary until the beneficiary is of age, or is capable of managing those assets him or herself. Living trusts allow an individual to manage these assets, and modify the trust, before passing away.

What is the difference between a will and a living trust?

Some of the most prominent differences between the two documents are as follows:

  • Living trusts take effect upon creation, and wills only come into play once the creator passes on. 
  • Living trusts help families bypass probate.
  • Trusts are private documents, and wills are public documents.
  • Sometimes, living trusts are a bit more expensive to create than wills, however, they can save you and your family greatly when all is said and done.

Contact our experienced Montgomery County, Maryland firm

The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.