When you work on your Maryland estate plan, you may use two important legal tools to help distribute your assets: trusts and wills. While both serve as means to transfer your wealth to your loved ones, they function differently, and there are a number of things a trust enables you to do that a will does not.
Here are just a few.
Trusts have the ability to bypass the probate process. Probate is the legal process of validating a will, and it is often time-consuming and costly. Trusts, on the other hand, allow for the immediate transfer of assets to beneficiaries without going through probate.
Protect your privacy
Trusts also offer a level of privacy that wills cannot match. When a will goes through probate, it becomes a public record, meaning it becomes accessible to anyone who wants to see it. Trusts, however, remain private documents. This means that the details of your assets and beneficiaries remain confidential, providing an added layer of security for your family’s financial affairs.
Manage your assets
With a will, your assets typically undergo distribution to beneficiaries upon your passing. In contrast, trusts allow you to specify conditions and timelines for asset distribution. For instance, you can set up a trust that disburses funds gradually over time, ensuring responsible financial management for beneficiaries who may not be ready to handle a significant inheritance all at once.
While both trusts and wills have their place, understanding the differences helps you make informed decisions about how to protect and provide for your loved ones in the future.