Most New York residents understand the purpose of having a will. A will is a testamentary document that spells out how a person wants their property distributed when they pass away. A will can also describe how and who may have the right to support the deceased party’s kids in the event that the children are left without parents.

However, wills are not the only tools that New Yorkers should have in their estate plans. Trusts are effective property management devices that individuals can use to prevent their property from going to probate. A trust is effectively a way for a person to divest themselves of ownership in their property by giving it to the trust and therefore preventing their property from being probated and tied up by the process.

Trusts can be created during the lifetimes of individuals or may be created at the time of their deaths through their wills. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, and each format has different benefits and drawbacks for the trust creators. Trusts can also serve special interests, such as supporting particular charities or providing for loved ones who may have special needs or limited powers to manage their own money.

Trusts can serve a wealth of estate planning goals but can be hard for individuals to set up on their own. When preparing one’s estate plan it is important that they have a serious conversation with their attorney about the benefits of using trusts. Local estate planning lawyers can advise their clients on how state and federal laws may impact their plans to use trusts to protect their wealth.