Trusts give Washington residents more control over their assets than wills. In fact, having a trust might be just as important as maintaining a will. There are several instances in which a trust provides extra protection. For example, because a last will and testament only takes effect after death, an estate owner who is unable to make their own decisions might be the subject of a lengthy probate process to appoint a guardian. Naming a guardian in a living trust could help prevent this and other problems.
Blended families are more the norm than exception in today's world. Parents who want to leave assets to their children may be able to accomplish that goal more effectively with trusts than wills. With only a will, assets might end up in the hands of the new spouse instead of the children.
A living trust has an advantage over a will when it comes to avoiding probate after death. For those who own real estate in multiple states, probate could be quite expensive and time consuming. Surviving family members might have to file in each state where the decedent owned property. However, if that property is owned by the living trust instead, it could be transferred to heirs without the need for probate.
Estate planning is important for anyone who wants to have control over their assets during their lifetime as well as after their death. Although trusts offer options that wills don't, a last will and testament continues to be an essential element of any estate plan. While a trust could help avoid probate and give the creator control over their assets if they become incapacitated, a will could be used to appoint a guardian for minor or children with disabilities. An attorney could help a client determine which estate planning documents could prevent a lengthy probate process.