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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Wills and living trusts serve different purposes, work together

Sometimes, families hope to keep a person's will private after they die. It could be for numerous reasons, maybe the person is a celebrity or is well know and the family wishes to keep its dealings private, or the family doesn't want its wealth known. Whatever the reason, wanting the estate of a family member to remain private is reasonable. However, if the person has a will, the will must be submitted to probate court, which can make the will public.

To avoid this, some people chose to have all of their assets transferred into a living trust, which is not available to the public and doesn't go through probate. This means assets can be transferred immediately upon death of a family member. Sometimes however, a will and a trust are both needed. In cases where a child might be involved, a trust can't appoint a guardian for a child, but a will can.

These trusts can also be used while the person is living for various purposes, while a will is only used after a person dies. Many times people can put assets in a trust to avoid probate, however if something gets left out, a will can cover those other assets. These matters can be complex so it is important to plan out a person's estate early in life and revisit the subject regularly.

Speaking with an estate planning attorney can help families make sure their wishes are followed and assets are transferred in the easiest way possible. It is important the a person's wishes are followed after their death, and estate planning documents might be a wise way to properly transfer anything from real estate to cash.

Source: Forbes, "Joe Paterno's Family Gives Up Trying To Keep His Will Secret," Deborah L. Jacobs, June 19, 2012

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