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Bucks County Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Estate Probate > Should My Estate Plan Include Both a Will and a Trust?

Should My Estate Plan Include Both a Will and a Trust?


The process of arranging how assets will be managed during an individual’s life and after they pass away is referred to as estate planning. Most estate plans have multiple documents. Often two of these documents are a trust and a will. Both of these documents are in place to establish how assets will be transferred after an individual dies, but they differ from one another.

Are you deciding if you need a will or a trust? Or, do you need both? Discuss all of the pros and cons of different estate plan tactics with a Bucks County estate and probate attorney. The lawyers at Kardos, Rickles & Hand help families in Bucks County, PA and Mercer County, NJ establish estate plans to give families peace of mind.

Understanding What Is a Will and What Is a Trust

Both wills and trusts are useful tools in estate planning. In some instances, the two work in tandem to establish a full estate plan.

The purposes of a last will and testament include the following:

  • The person who will inherit assets is named.
  • Who will be the guardian for underage children is named.
  • Any funeral requests are listed.

Once a person dies, the requests of a will are activated. Probate court will likely be the next step in distributing assets.

Trusts differ from wills. There are different types of trust, but common in estate planning is a living trust that has assets in one place, managed while the person is alive, and then transferred to designated beneficiaries when a person passes away. Some find a living trust preferable because it is a path to asset distribution that avoids the expenses and time of probate court. That said, setting the trust up initially and managing the trust may carry expenses.

Choosing One or Both

When deciding on how to establish your estate plan, talk to professionals who have experience with asset distribution. Your financial advisor and your Bucks County estate and probate attorney can provide you information on what could work best for you and your family. An estate plan is an important part of securing a family’s financial future.

Even if you have established trusts, wills, and other documents in past years, it may be worthwhile to sit down with a legal professional and determine if any documents need to be updated. After all, life changes and events could alter the financial needs of beneficiaries.

With an experienced attorney on your side, you will have the confidence of knowing all of your estate plan documents are valid and done properly. Each situation is unique and every individual has their own goals for their family’s future. With official documents set up and notarized, the estate plan will be secure. This includes wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives.

Is it time for you to create an estate plan? Or, do you have existing documents that need to be updated? Talk to an estate planning attorney at Kardos, Rickles & Hand. Our attorneys can help you compose your will and trust. Schedule your consultation today, call 215-968-6602.

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