Trust Attorney in Winston-Salem, NC

Estate planning is the process of creating legal documents and arrangements that dictate the transfer of your assets to beneficiaries when you die. If you have assets that you want to pass down (real estate property, personal belongings, money, etc.), you need a legally valid estate plan in place, or else state law will dictate how your assets are distributed. Wills and trusts are two of the most common estate planning tools. They serve similar purposes but can be used to achieve different goals. At B. Jeffrey Wood, Attorney at Law, you can partner with a wills and trust attorney to create a personalized plan based on your unique needs and objectives.

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Do I Need a Will or a Trust?

Wills: Your last will and testament is a legally enforceable document that allows you to state your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your death. It also allows you to name a legal guardian to look after your minor child if you are to die before they reach adulthood. Wills can be updated or revoked at any time during your life. Assets in a will must go through probate in order to be transferred to beneficiaries legally. A will lawyer can provide you with more information.

Trusts: A trust is a legal arrangement in which assets are transferred to a third-party trustee, who is responsible for managing those assets and distributing them to beneficiaries according to the trustor’s wishes. Some types of trusts can be changed or revoked during your lifetime, and others cannot. Assets placed in an irrevocable trust may be shielded from creditors and lawsuits filed against you. They may also be transferred to beneficiaries without the probate court getting involved. Trusts allow you to exercise more control over the distribution of your assets and set conditions. For example, you could require a beneficiary to complete high school before receiving their inheritance or require that a beneficiary’s inheritance be distributed to them in yearly payments rather than a lump sum. Partner with a trust lawyer to find out more.

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If you aren’t sure if you need a will or a trust, get in touch with a trust attorney or an estate planning attorney at B. Jeffrey Wood, Attorney at Law. Call (336) 722-5700 or fill out our online contact form below to get started. We serve clients in Winston-Salem, NC and the surrounding areas.