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Why parents may want to consider a trust instead of a will

It's not unusual for parents in Nevada to instinctively think of a will when estate planning is discussed. Part of the reason for this is a lingering assumption that trusts are only for wealthy individuals, or that they are just too complicated. However, there are several advantages a trust can offer any parent looking to protect assets that can't be offered by a will.

A will simply states who "will" receive certain belongings and various forms of property after an individual's death. A trust, however, goes into effect the moment it's signed. It's also an estate planning tool that allows parents to make appropriate adjustments as circumstances change over time. The creator of a trust (the "grantor") stays in control of the trust until they pass or are no longer capable. A trust can be fairly flexible (revocable) or somewhat limited (irrevocable).

One of the biggest benefits of a trust is that it's a private document. Unfortunately for some, a will becomes public when it goes through the probate process. This sometimes causes headaches for adult children, especially if "long lost family members" suddenly start popping up. A trust can also have unique provisions with assets, such as a stipulation to hold off on distributions until children have reached an age when they are likely to be more financially responsible. In some situations, a trust can benefit the grantor if they need help with late-in-life health care costs or other care-related expenses.

An attorney could help a client set up a trust in a way that minimizes tax burdens for listed beneficiaries as much as possible. Legal counsel may also personalize a trust so that it can have a life of its own in line with what matters most to parents looking to protect assets and provide for themselves and their loved ones.

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