When people in Michigan think about the future and how they want to manage their affairs, they may think first of making a will. People may not think much about trusts, or they may assume that they are only for the super-wealthy. However, trusts are flexible, adaptable instruments that can help people in a wide variety of situations achieve their goals more precisely and privately during the estate planning process.
There is a difference between a will and a trust. The will designates who will receive a person's property after they pass away. It may divide assets by percentages or specify that specific items are to be distributed to different people, and it will name an executor to handle the distribution and present the document to probate court. It only goes into effect after death and deals solely with one person's property. A trust is different because it goes into effect immediately after its creation. While it can direct the distribution of assets after death, it can provide for more complex solutions. Unlike a will, a trust does not need to be presented to a probate court.