Is Estate Planning The Same As A Will?

Posted by smith clea on September 1st, 2022

Everyone should have some sort of estate plan.

Whether it’s a will or something else.

But the question that many people have when they start to consider planning their estates is whether they need both a will and an estate plan, or if one can replace the other.

Is estate planning the same as a Will? Does one replace the other? To answer these questions, we need to take a look at how wills and estate plans each differ from one another.

What exactly each of them does for us so that we can decide whether we need both documents or one of them?

Know The Difference

Estate planning and wills are two completely different things.

A will is simply a document that states how you want your assets to be distributed after you die.

An estate plan, on the other hand, is a comprehensive strategy that can help you minimize taxes, protect your assets, and ensure that your wishes are carried out both during your lifetime and after your death.

What should I include in my estate plan? Your particular situation may need you to consult with an attorney or financial advisor.

But there are some basics steps you can take now:

  1. create a living will;
  2. make sure that any joint bank accounts have co-ownership provisions;
  3. update your beneficiary designations;
  4. consider long-term care insurance.

What Are Wills?

A living will are documents that allow you to specify how you would like your assets to be distributed after you die.

You can also use a will to appoint a guardian for your minor children.

Wills must be signed and witnessed by two adults who are not related to you.

They serve as evidence of your intent and may be probated (or validated) in court if there is any dispute about what you have stated in the document.

An estate plan may include a living trust, which is similar to a will but with some additional benefits, such as bypassing probate (the process of distributing an estate according to state law).

What Is Asset Protection?

Estate planning is not the same as having a will.

A will is just one tool that can be used in estate planning.

Estate planning also includes creating trusts, which can provide asset protection from creditors and help manage your assets if you become incapacitated.

In addition, estate planning can help you cut taxes and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Estate planning may include making gifts to beneficiaries, such as children or grandchildren, during your lifetime.

If you have questions about how an estate plan could fit into your own personal circumstances.

Final Thoughts On Wills Vs. Trusts Vs. Asset Protection

No, estate planning is not the same as having a will.

A will is just one tool that can be used in estate planning.

Trusts and asset protection are also important components of estate planning. Having these tools in place makes it easier to transfer assets to your beneficiaries, avoid probate and protect them from creditors.

About The Author

Clea Smith is a USA-based author on Legal issues related to estate planning, will & trust, business law, and elder law. Clea Smith does her best writing on these topics that help users to find the best solutions to their FAQ on estate planning attorney, probate, living trust vs will, and more about legal family issues.

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smith clea
Joined: February 6th, 2020
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