Wills and Trusts Long Island

Wills and Trusts Long Island

For a good and effective estate plan, one may need to have both a will and a trust as these two documents serve different definite purposes. Depending on the estate, some people in Long Island only use wills in settling their estates, some trusts, while a significant number use both wills and trusts Long Island. A good estate plan should be one that covers both expected and unexpected events, and as such, there may be a need to combine both. For creation of Wills and Trusts Long Island, kindly contact a qualified and well experienced estate planning attorney practicing in Long Island.

A will is a legal document in an estate plan which oversees the distribution of your property to your chosen beneficiaries after your death. An executor will be appointed by the testator or by the law court, to ensure the terms of the will are duly executed.

On the other hand, a trust is another estate planning document, in which assets are held and managed by a trustee on behalf of the trustor. The assets managed are those transferred into the trust, and assets thus transferred will take the name of the trust. Depending on the instructions or terms of the trust made by the trustor, all trust assets may be passed to the beneficiary even during the lifetime of the trustor or after his death. A trust is an excellent way of passing on property to one’s friends and loved ones without having to create a will.

While a will and trust both can be used for the disposition of assets, one major difference between the two is that a will does so only after the death of the “testator” (the testator is the creator of the will); while on the other hand, a trust may be used to dispose assets before or after the “trustor’s” death. The trustor is the creator of the trust, as opposed to a testator.

Another major difference between Wills and Trusts Long Island is in the area of probate. For a will to take effect after the testator’s death, it must first be probated in a Surrogate’s Court. This legal procedure is for determining the validity of the will i.e if it was written in accordance with the law. This process can be quite lengthy and expensive as there will be court fees and attorney fees to be paid by the executor of the will. Should the will pass as invalid, or in the complete absence of a will, the court takes authority over how the estate will be disposed. This condition is known as intestacy, and the intestacy laws effective in Long Island distributes assets to the closest surviving blood relative of the decedent. This would inadvertently be detrimental to those who wished their loving friends or a charitable organization to benefit from their estate.

On the other hand, a trust is completely probate free. Trusts pass outside of probate, thus saving a lot of time and cost. Assets are transferred to the beneficiary privately without the publicity of the court. This is one major reason why some persons create trusts rather than wills.

While transferring assets into a trust, one should know before hand that only these assets will pass outside probate. Probate is conducted only for assets owned in the name of the deceased testator, and as such, probate will disregard any assets jointly held or in a trust. All other assets not included in the trust must be probated so long they are in the name of the decedent.

Generally, wills take effect only after the death of the testator, while trusts take effect as soon as they’re created and funded (by transferring assets into the trust). However, there is a kind of will acceptable in Long Island, known as a “living will” which takes effect during the lifetime of the testator, hence its name. While being a will all the same, it does not dispose assets at the testator’s death but only handles his medical issues in the event of incapacitation. An individual may need to create this kind of will alongside a trust.

Another point of distinction between wills and trusts Long Island is that while a will can be easily amended, an irrevocable trust is not so. Once created, an irrevocable trust is for life and death. The solution to this is creating a revocable trust, such as a living trust. A living trust is a revocable trust in which a trustee agrees to manage trust assets for the benefit of the trustor during the trustor’s lifetime. The trustor is at liberty to choose himself as a trustee, hence giving himself full control of the trust. At the death of the trustor, the trust assets would then be passed on to the beneficiaries. This kind of trust can be revoked or changed at anytime.

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