What Is The Difference Between An Estate Plan and A Trust?

Understanding the difference between an estate plan and a trust is essential. Both estate plans and trusts can be a valuable tool for those seeking to provide for their families and protect their assets in the future. An experienced estate planning attorney in the East End of Long Island  can help you prepare well for your future and your family’s future by developing both estate plans and trusts based on your unique circumstances and desires.

What Is An Estate Plan?

Unfortunately, most people don’t address estate planning until they are older and have a catastrophic health issue. However, it would be smarter and safer to create an estate plan much earlier. It is vital for anyone with children to establish an estate plan.

With the right estate plan, the testator, the person setting up the plan, can maintain control of their assets, healthcare, and end-of-life decisions. A well-crafted estate plan will cover the transfer of wealth from the testator to their desired inheritors and procure the inheritors’ futures. However, absent a detailed estate plan, the State of New York will make these personal decisions. Our estate planning attorneys at Sheryll Law, P.C.  can handle every aspect of estate planning.

What Does An Estate Plan Cover?

It is important to understand the types of decisions covered under estate plans because if you are like most people, you do not want to entrust these decisions to the State of New York. And while estate plans can be elaborate, they should at least contain the following elements:

  • A Last Will and Testament that specifies how a testator wants his assets distributed after death.
  • A Power of Attorney that names a trusted individual to make legal decisions for the person if he cannot speak for himself.
  • A Health Care Proxy that names a trusted individual to make healthcare treatment decisions for an individual if he cannot speak for himself.
  • A Living Will that indicates whether the person must be kept alive by artificial means if he is unable to speak for himself.
  • A Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) that directs healthcare providers not to revive the person if his heartbeat and respiration stop.
  • A Medical Order Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) that informs healthcare providers about which life-sustaining treatments they should or should not provide if the patient cannot tell them. A few examples include: “I do not wish to be intubated” or “I do not wish to be transfused.” You can list many other possible life-sustaining therapies in a MOLST.

What Is A Trust?

Fundamentally, a trust is a legal arrangement establishing the transfer of property from the testator to the trust. Some believe that trusts are only for the wealthy or those with complicated estates. However, they can be invaluable for anyone seeking to provide for their families and protect their assets in the future. A trust allows the testator, the person setting up the trust, detailed control over the distribution of their wealth and the terms of the distribution. It can also permit continued use of the assets while the testator lives. The trust will be controlled by a trustee for the benefit of another person who is the beneficiary.

Who Should Consider A Trust?

A trust not only manages who will receive distributions but when and on what terms the distributions will occur. This can be extremely helpful for those with children from multiple marriages. In situations where a surviving spouse remarries, this can ensure that the trust provides for the children from the original marriage.

A properly constructed trust can help protect the testators’ assets against the heirs’ creditors and long-term care costs like nursing homes and home health agencies.

Additionally, a properly constructed trust avoids an outcome in which property enters into probate, saving the heirs time and money. The property can pass easily from the testator to the trust to the heirs without government involvement.

There are many other reasons to establish a trust. Hiring an excellent and experienced estate planning attorney is crucial to determining the specific type of trust a person needs.

Contact Sheryll Law, P.C.  To Establish An Estate Plan And/Or Trust

Our experienced estate planning attorneys at Sheryll Law, P.C., work diligently to ensure that we establish a proper estate plan or trust that addresses each client’s specific circumstances in the East End of Long Island. Ready to secure your future and the future of your loved ones?  Contact us at (631) 506-8440 or fill out the form to schedule a consultation.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.


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Sheryll Law, P.C.
633 East Main Street, Suite 2
Riverhead, New York 11901
(631) 506-8440

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