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Deciding whether to create a will or a trust

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2020 | Estate Planning |

New Hampshire residents who are new to estate planning may want to explore their options for both wills and trusts. Trust funds can be a good alternative to wills, which always have to go through probate court. After a will is filed in probate court and made a matter of public record, “interested parties” have the right to challenge the validity of the will. Some trust funds, on the other hand, avoid probate altogether.

Interested parties who can contest a will include beneficiaries of the will, family members of the decedent who were not named in the will, and people who were owed money by the decedent before he or she died. If someone files a probate lawsuit contesting a will, the already lengthy probate process can take even longer.

A trust fund can take a little more effort to set up than a will, but it can help get assets to beneficiaries faster. Living trusts that avoid probate include revocable and irrevocable trusts. Revocable trusts can be amended or added to at any point during the life of the person who creates the trust. Irrevocable trusts cannot be altered after they are created, but they may have other benefits.

Not all assets must be included in a will or trust. For example, retirement accounts and insurance policies that list beneficiaries do not need to go through probate. If a will or trust states that it includes assets that have designated beneficiaries, the will or trust will be superseded by the plan documents when it comes to identifying the beneficiaries.

People with property or assets in New Hampshire may want to speak with an estate planning attorney about their options. An attorney can help clients decide whether it is worth it to set up a trust fund.

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