Estate Plan (Trusts) Vs. Will – Ensure Your Assets Are Taken Care of After Death

Assets After Death

Do you know the difference between an estate plan vs. a will? Most people default to thinking that a will is the only document needed for planning what happens after your death. However, if you ask a reliable source, they’ll tell you that it’s beneficial to have a will and an estate plan.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that clearly defines how you want your assets and belongings divided that’s used by the courts and your heirs after your death. It can also detail guardianship for your children and will name an executor responsible for ensuring administration of the will. One of the most significant benefits of a will is to prevent the courts from determining how to divide your property, which is what happens if you die without one.

What is an Estate Plan?

An estate plan goes deeper than a will when allocating and managing your assets. It can allocate what happens while you’re living should you become incapacitated and details distribution of your assets after your death. It also helps with other considerations besides just your assets, including medical power of attorney, advance directives, trusts for living heirs, power of attorney for businesses and investments, and more.

Why Have Both?

The guidance shouldn’t be estate plan vs. will but should be estate plan and will. Because they can work together to create a broader arrangement that can more completely assure the preservation of your assets, carrying out of your wishes, security for your family and loved ones, and protection for your business ventures and investments.

No matter the size and breadth of your estate, if you have any assets to protect and family to take care of, having an estate plan and a will in place will benefit them both before and after your death. Talk to the experienced family law team at McCutchen and McLean LLC for a consultation to find out how you can take care of your family, even when you’re gone.

How To Break The News Of Divorce To Your Children

divorce effect on children

The effects of divorce on children are widely studied and documented, but it’s hard to grasp until you’ve gone through it, as a parent or even as a child of divorce. A critical first step to helping your children understand what’s happening is learning how to communicate with them about it effectively. Here are some ideas that may be helpful.

Come Up with a Plan

Having a plan is essential when it comes to difficult news and challenging conversations. When and how you tell them will impact how they receive the message. Set aside a time for that conversation when nothing else is going on, and there are no distractions.

Work as a Team

No matter how amicable or contentious your divorce, set it all aside for this important conversation. Show up as a united front without blame, judgment, or arguing. Working as a team will help your children feel safe, secure, and cared for by both of you.

Don’t Leave them Wondering

Your children typically live in the home with you and many times know when things are not great or there is conflict between the parents. When talking to kids about divorce, treat your children with respect. Sometimes honesty is the best policy in age-appropriate terms, but sometimes “fault-ground” reasons for the divorce should not be discussed until much later after the divorce trauma or when the children are older, if at all. Don’t forget to assure the children they are not the reason for the divorce and that both parents love them unconditionally, no matter what. Your children  deserve to know why their family and their lives are about to drastically change.

Talk About the Future

One of the things kids worry about when their parents get divorced is what the future will look like. Not knowing where they’ll live, who they’ll spend time with, if they have to change schools, make new friends, be on different sports teams, or give up their pets are all things that scare children about divorce. Talk to them about the future, even if you’re not sure yourselves. Reassure them. Helping them feel secure is the goal.

Navigating a divorce, even in the best circumstances, is challenging. Having a reliable attorney in your corner is one way to ease the stress and vicissitudes of divorce. Contact the legal team at McCutchen McLean, LLC for compassionate and experienced divorce representation.



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We recently used James McCutchen and we could not be any happier! He was very kind, thorough when answering all of our questions and the best part of all we got everything completed pretty quickly. We highly recommend James. Thanks again for everything!



I have referred several clients to them. My clients are very happy with the outstanding, timely service they receive. James and Robin are extremely smart and professional, yet speak in "plain english" so everyone walks away educated regarding their tax, estate or family law issue.



Smart people that do great work.



I used Robin McLean as an attorney to secure a divorce about 20 months ago. I found her to be efficient, reasonably priced, and very well skilled. I was completely happy with her work. She did what she said. Since that time, I needed additional help with paperwork and she responded promptly and to my complete satisfaction. I highly recommend Robin as an attorney.


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