Wills – Enable a person to specify who gets his or her personal possessions when they die. They are useful in preventing potential family conflicts. In the absence of a will, the law will determine how personal property is distributed.
Trusts – A trust is a legal arrangement where one person (called the “trustee”) holds and manages property for the benefit of someone else (the “beneficiary”). The trust “property” can be cash, CDs, stocks, or real estate. The terms of the trust document control what the trustee may do with the trust property. It will set forth specific instructions for how the property can be invested as well as who can receive distributions from the trust and under what circumstances.
Some estate planners say it’s possible to use trusts to reduce your assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. Others say trusts can disqualify you for Medicaid. It’s important to seek the help of a good and experienced elder law attorney in the patient’s state when structuring your estate to meet specific goals.