The Difference Between a Will and Estate Planning

Creating a will is not quite the same as estate planning, but they do tend to go hand-in-hand. If you are creating an estate plan, a will is an essential component in a broad plan of action for how you want your assets treated after your death. However, a will on its own is more limited in its functions. As useful as a will can be, it is better to look at the bigger picture and create a more comprehensive estate plan, and to determine what other documents you might need.

What Does a Will Do?

A will dictates how your assets will be distributed after your death. It also allows you to name a guardian to care for your children if you and their other parent die. Creating a will is always a good idea, regardless of whether you are wealthy or not. Without one, your heirs will waste a lot of time, energy, and money figuring out how to divvy up your estate. That said, as useful as a will is, it will not spare your beneficiaries from going through the probate process, which is where a well-rounded estate plan can help.

The Benefits of Estate Planning

In addition to a will, an estate plan also includes a trust, powers of attorney, and advance directives. These tools will not only allow you to dictate how your assets will be distributed after your death, but they will also allow you to assign trusted individuals to make financial and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Additionally, if you have beneficiaries who are too young or loved ones whom you believe may be irresponsible if they inherit certain assets in a lump sum, a trust will give you the opportunity to dictate how and when assets will be distributed after your death.

Moreover, unlike a will, a well-drafted estate plan can keep your loved ones out of probate court, minimizing the potential obstacles and stressors they may face during an already emotional time. Basically, a will is only one part of an estate plan, but an estate plan is far more than a will. With an experienced estate planning team on your side, you can ensure you are properly prepared for the future.

Schedule a Consultation with One of Our Estate Planning Attorneys Today!

Creating an estate plan is essential for ensuring your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are cared for after your death. Let the team at Patton Law Group guide you through this process. We have been helping clients plan for the future since 2010 and would be honored to assist you.

Call us today at (916) 626-2932 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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