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Will or Trust?

Many of our site viewers simply want to know whether they need a Will or a Trust.  Here is the test: if you own no real property and your assets have a GROSS value of less than $150,000.00, you may want to consider a Will.  Gross value does not mean equity, it means the total value of your assets irrespective of your equity.  A Will can be a great way to take care of smaller estates. Otherwise, you are better served using a Trust.  Generally, people want to keep the administration of their estate as simple as possible; this leads to less expense and a shorter time period.  This is an important concept for all attorneys to promote.  However, transferring substantial assets is a complex business that cannot be done on the back of a napkin.  People also want to know about holographic Wills.  The real issue is not whether they can be legal, they can be.  The real issue is whether they will be effective.  They oftentimes lead to litigation and generally, litigation defeats any advantages gained by writing your own will on a piece of paper.

Almost every person we know needs a trust.  Whether it is because they own a home or have children or have assets, the preferred estate planning vehicle is a Trust.  When we think about the fact that all wealthy families use the Trust vehicle (and usually many trusts), we usually concede that over time and given the rich have been doing this for a long time, the people with money have probably discovered the best way to manage that money.  The Trust is the best way to manage your estate.

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