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What a trust can do that a will cannot

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning, individuals often consider both wills and trusts as tools for distributing assets and managing affairs. Both can serve important roles. However, a Colorado trust offers specific advantages that a will cannot replicate.

Understanding these distinctions allows individuals to make informed decisions to help ensure that their estate planning aligns with their intentions and preferences.

Probate avoidance

A notable advantage of a Colorado trust is the ability to bypass probate. Probate is the legal procedure for validating a will, and it can be a time-consuming and public process. A trust, on the other hand, allows for the private transfer of assets without the need for probate court involvement. This streamlined process can save time and maintain the confidentiality of estate matters.

Privacy protection

Unlike wills, which become public records during probate, trusts offer enhanced privacy protection. The details of a trust, including its terms and the assets it holds, remain private. This confidentiality ensures that the distribution of assets and the terms of the trust remain outside the public domain. It also results in a higher level of discretion for individuals and their beneficiaries.

Incapacity planning

Colorado trusts provide a mechanism for managing assets in the event of incapacity. With a revocable living trust, individuals can designate a successor trustee who can step in and manage the trust assets if the original trustee suffers incapacitation. This seamless transition can prevent the need for court-appointed guardianship.

Distribution flexibility

Trusts afford individuals greater flexibility in asset distribution compared to wills. Trusts can specify conditions for distribution, such as age or milestones. This allows for a more tailored and customized approach. This flexibility also enables individuals to exert greater control over how and when beneficiaries receive their inheritances. It also helps ensure that assets undergo management in a manner aligned with their values and intentions.

Despite the notable benefits that come with drafting wills and trusts, CNBC reports that 67% of Americans have no estate plans at all. Understanding what trusts can do in comparison to wills helps individuals make informed decisions about their estate planning.