Nicole: A will is a very important document. This is where we appoint a personal representative. It used to be called an executor but they just changed the name, it still has the same job. Your personal representative has four jobs: to locate your assets, value those assets, pay any potential creditors, and then distribute the assets according to your will. The most important thing in a will, if you have minor children, is your guardianship. This is who you would name to have raise your children if you were to pass suddenly. A will, contrary to popular belief, does not avoid probate. Which brings us to trusts.
Cristyn: Trusts do avoid probate for any properties that they own or ultimately inherit. A trust, I like to liken it to an LLC. We can form it, we can’t always necessarily see it, we have a document that governs and says who’s in charge, where the things go, what the rules are, but it can own property. It’s a living, breathing entity. This trust, we transfer assets into it, we make the trust the beneficiary of different assets, and now we actually are avoiding probate.
The biggest thing I would say here is think of your will as an instruction sheet for probate, but know that your trust for anything it owns or ultimately inherits, we are avoiding probate across the board. Very, very big difference, even though they both deal with distribution of assets.