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How a trust can be more useful than a will

For some people in New York who are creating an estate plan, a trust might be a better choice than a will. With a trust, the cost and time of probate can be avoided and assets can be passed directly to beneficiaries. In addition, a trust can help beneficiaries avoid estate tax.

Trusts can be used to protect assets in a number of ways. For example, a trust can shield assets from creditors or even from a spouse in a divorce. A trust can also provide support for a loved one who has disabilities and does not want to jeopardize their government benefits. The trust can pay for many expenses that the benefits do not cover.

A trust is often a better choice than a will if there are minor children involved. Minors cannot receive assets, and their parents aren't allowed to manage the assets until a court has granted permission. A trust avoids this and can also be designed so that the minor does not necessarily receive all the assets on reaching adulthood. For example, the trust might tie distribution of assets to reaching certain milestones or specify that the funds can only be used for certain expenses such as education.

Often, people do not realize how versatile trusts may be or what other elements of an estate plan might be important. For example, an estate holder may want to make plans in case of incapacitation. This could include appointing people to manage finances and make health care decisions. A lawyer could help a client make sure that they have a thorough estate plan in place.

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