Whereas a Will only goes into effect once the testator dies, a Trust can be used while the maker is still living, and a properly drafted Trust does not need to be probated in court.

Trusts typically fall under two categories: Revocable and Irrevocable. A Trust maker can revoke a Revocable Trust during his or her lifetime. Once an Irrevocable Trust has been created, it may not be dismantled.

Although an Irrevocable Trust does not shield the maker’s assets from creditors, it may protect assets from creditors’ claims after the maker dies. A creditor stands in the shoes of a beneficiary, and if the beneficiary does not have the power to force a distribution the creditor does not, either. However, a creditor may seize Trust assets once they have been distributed to the beneficiary.

The selection of a Will, Trust or some combination of the two depends on each person’s unique circumstances.

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