Wills and Trusts – Kansas City Financial Planning Advice
February 10, 2021at5:00 AM
The conversation around wills and trusts can be a somber one, but it’s also a necessary aspect of ensuring your estate is distributed the way you want after your passing. You’ve spent your entire life working to ensure your loved ones are cared for now and well into the future, but if the proper planning isn’t in place, passing along your wealth could be out of your control.
The two main options you have are creating a legally binding will or trust. While these two are similar, there are crucial differences, and OWLFI’s Kansas City financial planning experts want to help you understand what they are so you can choose the options that best suit your needs.
What’s the difference between wills and trusts?
Wills are legally binding agreements that are designed to accomplish three primary objectives: decide how your assets are distributed after you pass, guide decisions about guardianship of minors, and specify your final arrangement wishes. When you draft your will, you have the option to appoint an executor. This should be a trusted individual who you are confident will ensure all of your wishes are met.
With a will, you can decide exactly who receives your estate and what amount they get, who will look after any minor children you’ve left behind, and how you want to be put to rest. Your estate includes any left-over wealth and your physical assets such as your house, vehicles, and personal belongings. Upon your passing, the will is submitted to the probate court, and your executor will work with them to ensure every aspect is handled according to your plans. It’s important to note that because it’s a legal document that must be submitted to the court, your estate becomes public record during the process.
If you don’t already have a will, our Kansas City financial planning experts highly recommend creating one now. Since Kansas does require probate when passing along an estate, a will allows you to have control over the process. Otherwise, the court gets to make significant choices, and it opens up your family to contentious arguments over rightful claims to your estate.
Trusts accomplish similar goals to wills, but key differences could make them more viable for your estate. Unlike a will, which only takes effect after your passing, trusts become active the moment they are signed, and they control how the property included in the trust is managed. This is helpful because it provides protection if you become incapacitated because you’ll know a trusted individual is responsible for managing your estate.
Much like a will, trusts allow you to decide how your assets are distributed after you pass away, and they can be altered up until that time to reflect any changes in your life. You can also appoint a trustee to manage your estate for minor children until they reach an age you specify. However, trusts don’t control decisions of guardianship of minors or your final arrangement requests.
The biggest benefit of establishing a trust over drawing up a will is that it allows your estate to avoid the probate process after you pass. So not only does it remain private and off the public record, but it will enable your loved ones to avoid the drawn-out and expensive probate procedure.
Still have questions about wills and trusts?
Then contact the Kansas City financial planning professionals at OWLFI. We understand how complicated estate planning can be, which is why we offer our clients years of expertise to ensure their loved ones receive the care they deserve. We can help you decide whether you’d benefit most from a will, trust, or combination of the two and create a plan that’s perfectly tailored for your unique financial situation. Learn more about our services, or send us a message online to schedule an initial consultation.