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What to know about wills and trusts

There are many key differences between a will and a trust that a Georgia resident should know about. A will allows for assets to be transferred after a person passes away. It may also stipulate that other events take place after an individual passes. Wills are generally subject to probate, which is a public process in which they are verified and accepted by a judge. As the language of the document is available to the public, any interested party can learn more about a deceased person's financial situation.

The public may also be able to learn more about who that individual's beneficiaries were. Those who wish to keep the details of their estates private may want to put assets into a trust. The terms of the trust generally take effect as soon as it is executed, and there is no need for a trustee to get court approval to enforce its terms when a person dies.

Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable in nature. If a person has a revocable trust, it means that he or she can be both the beneficiary and the trustee, and that person can change the terms of the trust at any time. Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed without the consent of the beneficiaries, and they are ideal for individuals looking to protect assets from creditors.

Wills and trusts may be effective tools for those who are trying to create an estate plan. Anyone who is going through the estate planning process may want to do so with the help of an attorney. This may make it easier to determine what type of documents to use or who to appoint as a trustee. Legal counsel might also help ensure that beneficiary designations are reviewed on a regular basis.

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