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Should you have a will or trust?

Knowing the difference between a will and trust is important to protecting the people you love. While a will dictates what you'd like to see happen after your death, a trust does more to protect your assets and specific requirements you want people to fulfill.

Here's a good example. When you will a pet to a loved one following your death, that individual only has to accept the pet. There are no other requirements for its care or safety. However, a trust, such as a pet trust, has requirements the person has to meet to stay in compliance with his or her position as someone who inherited the pet.

Wills have other purposes, too. For example, a will may appoint guardianship for minor children. This is vital for kids under the age of 18; without a will, your children will go wherever the judge deems appropriate. You can dictate who takes over guardianship of your children in your will, guaranteeing they go with the person you select. A trust, in this situation, is extremely different. A trust is how you'll pass on assets to your child without him or her receiving everything immediately. While a will may do the same thing, a trust has someone who is in charge of it, following your orders and only doling out assets to your child when appropriate and when certain terms have been met.

If you're not sure if you want a will or trust, consider speaking with your attorney about the options. Each one has its benefits, and it's sometimes best to combine the two for the best protection.

Source: Investopedia, "Will versus trust: Knowing the difference," Matthew Jarrell, accessed June 14, 2018

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