Old age is one of the most important things we have to prepare for. The future is never certain, and you have to know that everything you worked so hard to achieve is not put to waste. This means your family or friends benefit from your success. You also get to live comfortably towards the latter part of your life.
Of course, you can’t just rely on word-of-mouth or promises if you want to be reassured of this. That’s why you need legal documentation. This is done through a process called estate planning. Part of this is writing a trust or a will. Now, the question is, what are the differences between these two? This article will help answer that.
Difference Between a Trust and a Will
Estate planning refers to the transfer of your assets and liabilities to a beneficiary. It is also the proper utilization of these assets to provide for yourself or your family. This can happen in three forms or processes. The first one is through a living trust, the second one is through the last will, and the last one is through a living will.
While all of these utilize the law to implement your estate plan, there are some critical differences between these three.
This is a signed legal document that indicates who among your beneficiaries should receive what portion of your estate. However, the transfer of these properties or assets occurs while you are still alive.
While a last will indicate the same, the main difference is that the assets are only transferred in the event of your death through a process supervised by the court, called probate. This means that a final ruling by the court is necessary.
While the two options we’ve mentioned above dictates the transfer of ownership of your assets to your beneficiaries, the third option focuses mainly on your healthcare plans when you grow old. The last will only state what happens to your assets and properties when you pass on. However, some of us would want to be assured that our remaining years here on earth are lived comfortably even when we can’t make decisions for ourselves.
That’s where a living will become necessary. Also known as an advance healthcare directive, a living will dictate how you want to be taken care of and who among your friends, relatives, or any person you trust, will decide all matters related to healthcare if you become incapacitated to do so.
How to Write a Living Will
Stress, frustration, and worry are probably the last things you want to experience when you get old. That’s why a living will brings you peace of mind in this part of your life. If you’re unsure how to prepare this legal document, we’re here to help you out.
The first thing you need to do is to gather information. This means that you should make a list of everything you own. Anything ranging from your home to cars to heirloom should be well accounted for. Furthermore, all documents that prove your ownership of these things should be present. Make sure that you also include your debts, if you have some. You also need to list down your beneficiaries or even pets and how you want them to be taken care of. You can also list down how you want your funeral to go.
Seek Legal Help
Once you have everything prepared, you need a power of attorney to legalize your plans. They will help you build a structure for your living will and what your options are. If you’re already a senior citizen, you can also consult an elder law attorney to help you with the process of accessing healthcare services for old age. Without a legal representative, it would be practically impossible to carry out your plans for old age or after your death.
Lastly, you want to ensure that this legal documentation is safe from external elements that may ruin it. While the old system of storing these documents in a filing cabinet is probably still in existence, it’s difficult to guarantee that it will be safe for as long as it should. That’s why you also have the option to keep your documents on a trusted website that utilizes cloud storage. This will ensure that your living will do not suffer any physical damage over time.
We all want to live a comfortable life and provide the same quality of living to our families. That’s probably why we work hard and strive to be successful. However, all of these will be put to waste if you don’t prepare for the future. Make sure that you have a living will to carry out your wishes.