A Will or Trust: Which is Best for You?

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Oct 08, 2015

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Idaho - Boise and the Treasure Valley

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When it comes to deciding whether a will or trust is best for you, it is important to understand your options and which one is most appropriate for your situation. Will A testamentary will (simply referred to as a will) is a legal document used to transfer an estate to beneficiaries after the death of the testator (the person making the will). Within the will, the testator usually names a personal representative (same as executor) for the estate. A will is revocable (it can be cancelled by the testator) or it can amended at any time by the testator. For a will to be valid in Idaho, it must meet specific requirements under Idaho law. Living Trusts A person, during his or her lifetime, may create a living trust whereby the settlor (the person making the trust), trustee (the person who has legal authority to manage the trust assets) and beneficiary (the person who makes use of the trust assets) are all the same person. After the settlor dies, depending on the trust instructions, the trust assets may be distributed outright, or held within the trust and distributed over time or upon the happening of a specific event. Living Trusts may be appropriate for persons who own real property in more than one state or have a blended family where spouses have children from prior relationships. Testamentary Trusts A testamentary trust is created upon the death of a person as specified in his or her will and holds assets within the trust instead of outright distribution such as when minor beneficiaries reach a specified age or graduate from college, or when a beneficiary is a person with special needs or disability who receives government benefits. A New or Updated Estate Plan Whether a will or trust is appropriate for you depends on your circumstances. If you already have a will or trust, it should be reviewed occasionally to make sure it reflects your current wishes and needs, or if you have relocated from another state, or upon any significant change in your life such as divorce or death of a spouse or beneficiary. This article was written by Donna A. Schuyler, Attorney, who practices in the areas of estate planning, elder law, guardianship and probate. Donna Schuyler Law, PLLC; elderlawboise.com; Phone 208-344-1947

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