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Wills and trusts: How to protect assets

When people decide that they want to begin the process of planning for what is to happen to their assets and property after they have died, they frequently think of a will. However, while wills are one way to settle their estates, they are subject to going through probate. Wills are probably the most familiar method of making final wishes formalized to most people. Every state has certain criteria that need to be met for drafting a will, Massachusetts is no exception.

Another possible option that people could consider is setting up a trust. As stated earlier, wills are subject to probate. In the event that a will is contested, then the person's final wishes may not be carried out. A trust is a private document and is not open to probate. Also a trust can ensure that wealth is passed on to future generations with more security than most wills can provide.

Having a trust set up can also protect finances from the costs of a retirement home care. One of the conditions for that protection to be active is that the trust is set up in a Medicaid trust and has been in place for a five year period. Even if a trust seems to be a good fit for a person's needs, they would still need a will that would transfer over assets and property to the trust.

Whichever type of financial planning document a person feels would meet their needs for their estate is up to the individual or family and anyone else that they might ask for advice. Massachusetts has many resources available that can help someone who is seeking information on either wills or trusts. Having information and options to choose from is the best way for an individual to select the estate planning documents that best fits their needs.

Source: recordonline.com, "Protecting your future: Create a trust to avoid probate complications," Bonnie Kraham, July 18, 13

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