For almost two years now, the world we live in has been impacted greatly by the Covid-19 pandemic. During these uncertain times it is important to be prepared for whatever lies ahead, which includes drafting an estate plan to ensure your loved ones are taken care of in case of tragedy. Before explaining why a trust is better than a will after COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s important to know the difference between these two documents.
Why A Trust May Be Better Than A Will:
After the pandemic, when creating an estate plan asset protection and preservation has to be your strategy. Because of the number of people who were dying each and every day in NY and the court’s inability to handle the sheer volume of wills going through probate, most NY elder law attorneys would advise drafting a revocable or irrevocable NY trust instead of a last will and testament. The first and most obvious reason is that any properly funded trust avoids NY probate- a process that any will has to go through for years. Simply said, a trust is a legal document which grants another party authority to distribute a donor's property upon his or her death outright without waiting for years for courts to review (probate) your last will.
Although most trusts are formed to seek the same function, certain trusts may better fit your needs.
- Revocable trusts (also known as living trusts) allow for the terms of the trust to be changed at any time. Essentially a revocable trust allows for alterations to be made to the existing trust which may include adding or removing beneficiaries, reallocating assets and adding or removing assets.
- Irrevocable trusts on the other hand can not be altered from the moment that the document is signed. One downside to a revocable trust is that in the case of a lawsuit, assets in a revocable trust can be liquidated to satisfy the result of the said suit. This is not the case with an irrevocable trust as an irrevocable trust protects against creditors, and assets would remain untouched.
A will is a legal document that states how you would like your estate distributed after your passing. If there are minor children involved, a last will is essential at appointing a guardian should one pass before each child reaches the age of 18. However, other than the appointment of the guardian, a will is almost an absolute document as it requires prolonged court involvement before any property may pass to the beneficiary. Thus instead of an instant transfer that trust allows for, a will must go through years of probate proceedings in order for the beneficiaries to obtain the assets that the donor wanted them to have.
Why NY and Kings County Probate Should Be Avoided at all costs:
Probate court is a process which allows a will to be validated. Probate courts are always very costly and extremely time consuming, especially during the pandemic. The average time to probate a will in Kings county now is 1-2 years! Many probate attorneys charge by the hour, with rates ranging from about $500- $700 an hour and by the time you are done with the process your legal bill can easily exceed $20,000.
Benefits of A Living Trust:
With all the delays mentioned above due to the COVID-19 pandemic, setting up a trust, though more expensive to set up, can be a much better and cheaper way to pass your estate to your beneficiaries. While drafting a will may be cheaper now, it can leave a financial burden on your loved ones once you die and will definitely cause disagreements and hardship. Being that a will can be contested, family members contesting a will will delay the probate process, and may even convince a judge to go against your wishes. A trust does not give family members that possibility, which ensures that the wishes laid out in your trust are followed immediately, and less disagreements occur.
Hire An Attorney:
If you or a loved one need help creating an estate plan, contact the Law Office Of Inna Fershteyn. Attorney Inna Fershteyn is a great estate planning attorney with over 22 years of experience. Since the start of this pandemic, Inna has helped clients draft, and sign all types of trusts without ever putting anyone’s safety at risk. If you need help executing a revocable or irrevocable trust, call (718) 333-2394 to set up an estate planning consultation.