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Wills and trusts: Protecting assets while avoiding probate

Many bases have to be covered in a comprehensive estate plan. Essentially, you're not only planning for the future, as if it's an unknowable set of circumstances; you're actually creating the future for you and your loved ones. By organizing your estate and drafting the appropriate documents now, you can reduce the number of unknowns and rest assured that your loved ones are provided for.

A wide variety of options are available for protecting assets, passing them on to heirs and beneficiaries, and limiting the potential for confusion and headaches in the probate process. In fact, your estate can avoid probate altogether if you create and fund a trust.

While everyone should have a will, it is also important to know that the contents of a will have to be addressed in probate, which can be time-consuming and expensive. A trust, however, allows for assets to be distributed to beneficiaries outside of the probate process.

Another aspect of a trust is that it allows for your estate assets and their distribution to remain private. A will becomes part of public record, so anyone can access the contents of a will. If you have private family or business matters that you don't want publicly disclosed, then you can take steps to ensure that your will transfers assets into a trust.

There are many different kinds of trusts, and you can speak with your attorney about choosing the one that is right for your particular situation. For more on these matters, please visit our estate planning website.

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