August 01, 2016 Feature

Don’t Shoot the Messenger: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Wills and Trusts

Regina L. Rathnau

People often use the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” when delivering a message the recipient does not like. Estate planning documents deliver the message from the decedent to his or her loved ones concerning final wishes for the disposition of his or her property. Family members can complain if they wish, but the decedent’s wishes are generally binding as to the property distribution. In order to effectuate this distribution, the two main documents in existence are wills (also known as a last will and testament) and trusts (of which there are a variety of kinds). This article will highlight the benefits and drawbacks of each kind of document.

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