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Trusts and how they can aid estate planning

The language of estate planning can be confusing to some and can serve as a deterrent to putting a plan in place in Massachusetts. This need not be the case. Two terms that are tossed about a lot in the estate planning world are wills and trusts. Both can be very effective tools when putting an estate plan together.

A will largely controls what a person wants to happen to his or her property after his or her passing. Trusts allow for more flexibility and can include measures to be taken while a person is still alive but may be physically or mentally incapacitated. Living trusts can offer someone a certain amount of flexibility and control over assets contained in the trust, depending on the type of trust he or she creates.

There are two primary forms of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. In each case, there is a trustee who manages the trust in accordance with the instructions contained in the document. There is more flexibility with a revocable trust. A revocable trust allows the grantor to maintain control of the trust while still alive, and this can include adding or removing assets as well as changing specifics of the document itself. An irrevocable trust does not allow changes without the consent of those named in the trust as they are the actual owners of it.

While estate planning can seem overwhelming and confusing, the flexibility afforded by documents such as trusts can serve to simplify the process. A person can begin by determining his or her final wishes and then deciding on the most effective way to accomplish those wishes. An estate planning professional in Massachusetts can provide guidance to help ensure that a person's final wishes will be carried out successfully.

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