There are several estate planning tools available to an individual in Portland who wants to get their affairs in order. The goal of planning is to minimize the amount of estate tax that surviving family members, beneficiaries and heirs will pay on their inheritance. A will is the set of instructions an individual leaves behind. This document tells the executor how to disperse the assets. A trust is used to specifically benefit the beneficiary.

The main difference between wills and trusts in estate planning is that the trust completely bypasses probate court. A will, on the other hand, has to be validated upon death by the court. If anything is missing such as a signature or information, it holds up the process. Wills are still an important estate planning tool, but assets that can be transferred or renamed are often put into a trust instead.

It may sound like a trust is the best approach to take, but it also has its own drawbacks. Changes cannot be made to a trust after the individual passes away. If more assets were accumulated and they were not placed in the trust, those additional assets go through probate court. Additionally, there are several types of trusts. Each has a certain tax-saving purpose for a specific type of individual and beneficiary.

The best strategy for planning an estate depends on the current situation of the individual and the number of assets they plan to disperse. This is probably why so many people believe that estate planning is mainly for the wealthy. In reality, planning an estate is for everyone, especially when there are going to be surviving family members such as minor children. For more guidance, individuals are encouraged to speak with legal professional. A lawyer may be able to walk the individual through various tax-saving options.