Patel & Dalrymple, PLLC
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Do I need a trust in Virginia?

Many people understand the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan. Taking the time to implement proper legal documents can help protect your loved ones and help ensure your wishes are fulfilled after you pass on.

Two of the primary legal documents within an estate plan are wills and trusts. Some people may believe that if they have a will, there is no need to have a trust. While having a will is critical for almost everyone, trusts can provide additional benefits for your loved ones.

Differences between wills and trusts

A will, sometimes formally referred to as a last will and testament, outlines who will receive your belongings after you die. You can also name guardians for minor children in your will in the event that you and your spouse die before they reach age 18.

Trusts are documents that allow you to establish separate legal ownership over an asset. While wills typically only take effect after you die, trusts may be effective both during and after your lifetime. There many types of trusts that can help you accomplish a broad range of estate planning goals.

The key advantage of having a trust

The biggest flaw with wills is that they require probate. Probate is the legal process of administering an estate. Not only is the probate process time consuming, it can also be expensive. It is not uncommon for your loved ones to pay 3-5 percent of the value of the probated assets in fees.

Assets inside of a trust bypass the probate process. Where there are some fees when initially establishing a trust, those fees will typically be significantly less than what your heirs will have to pay if your estate primarily goes through probate.

Even though trusts can be beneficial, they may not be appropriate for every family. It is important to speak with an attorney who will evaluate your situation to determine which estate planning elements are right for you and your loved ones.

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