New York residents may think they need a will, but they might want to consider setting up a revocable trust as well. A revocable trust has a number of advantages over a will for managing most of an individual’s assets. Probate of a will can be expensive and time-consuming, and a revocable trust can prevent that. Furthermore, a co-trustee of a revocable trust can handle the administration if the grantor becomes incapacitated.
A trust gives the grantor greater control over the estate. It can protect assets from creditors of the beneficiaries. It may also protect assets in case a surviving spouse remarries and ensures that those assets will go to the children from the earlier marriage and not to the new spouse’s children. The grantor can also use it to specify how assets are distributed to beneficiaries. For example, if the grantor wishes to specify a certain age or other conditions for the beneficiaries to receive distributions, a revocable trust can be used for this.
A trust may help heirs avoid taxes from retirement accounts as well by naming the trust as the beneficiary . A revocable trust also gives its owner the control to make changes to it as needed.
Trusts can be complex, and people may need to create a will and other documents as part of a complete estate plan. For example, a person may wish to make an advance medical directive that specifies instructions for end-of-life care. Because precision of legal language is important in these types of documents, an attorney may be helpful. An attorney may also be able to provide guidance regarding the best vehicles for what the client wishes to accomplish. People should review their estate plan periodically to ensure that it remains current with changes in their family and with any changes in applicable law.