Both living trusts and wills allow you to name beneficiaries for your property. Beyond that, they are useful for different purposes; one can help you avoid probate, while the other can name guardians for your children. But do you know what living trusts and wills don’t cover? In this blog, we break down what these legal documents cannot do!
Reduce Estate Taxes
Neither wills nor living trusts can help you reduce estate tax (but most estates will not owe estate tax). If you believe your property might be liable for estate taxes, we recommend meeting with a professional lawyer, where you can discuss more information in detail. There are many different ways you can skip out on estate tax, which includes being eligible for marital deductions, personal estate tax exemption, charitable deduction, and other legal routes, but neither a will nor trust can help you there.
Leave Money to Pets
Pets cannot own property, so you cannot leave property or money to your pets, as it will end up in your residuary estate (which means it will be divided along with your primary estate). Since pets are not legally allowed to own property or money, the best you can do is leave your pet to someone you know, whether that be in your will or living trust. You can also sign up with an organization to have your pet find a new home when you can no longer care for them.
Leave Final Wishes
Although you’re allowed to leave funeral instructions and final wishes in your will (never in a living trust), it’s better to leave them in a separate document. A will is not a good place to express your death and burial preferences for one reason: your will might not be located and read until several weeks after passing away – long after decisions must be made. Instead, you can write a simple letter to your executor and other loved ones to explain the details of your final arrangements.
We mentioned just a few limitations of trusts and wills in this blog, but do you know the full extent of what each legal document can or cannot do for you? For more information, contact the team at Family Law Richard E. Young & Associates. We are a professional, legal practice that can assist you with your trusts and wills. Call us today!