A good estate plan fits your individual needs, and as a result, no two estate plans are identical. However, there several estate planning tools and that almost everyone needs to include in their plan. Two of the more important are a will and a living trust.
A last will and testament, usually called a will, allows you to choose who you want to inherit your property after you die. You can also choose an executor to manage your estate, create a trust that will protect property for minor children until they’re old enough to own it themselves, and name a guardian who will care for minor children if you should die before they reach adulthood. Wills are most commonly used for modest estates since larger estates passing via a will must go through the probate process.
Once you die your property has to go to new owners. As noted, if you rely upon a will to transfer the property, the property will first have to go through the probate process unless it is modest in size. This can be lengthy and expensive. To avoid probate you can create a revocable living trust. Once you create a trust you can then transfer your property to that trust and dictates how it will dispose of the property after you die. This effectively allows you to avoid probate.
The best way to determine whether a will or trust is best for you is to consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.