Knowing the basic concepts is enough to get you started on the right track.
You don't have to have an estate plan. However, if you don't, the courts will decide where your assets go using statutes written by your state government.
Getting started in planning can be a challenge, if you don't have the basic information needed, according to Cincinnati.com in "Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning."
The biggest things people need to know are what is involved with wills and trusts and how they differ.
A will is a formal written document you can use to establish how your property should be distributed after you pass away. Your will is submitted to court after your death and the court appoints someone to make sure what you want done is actually carried out. A will has no effect until after you pass away.
A “living” trust is different. It does take affect before you pass away. Trust documents create a legal entity into which you transfer your assets. After you pass away, the assets are then managed or distributed according to the directions given in the trust document.
A trust does not ordinarily need to be submitted to court. If you have a will, you do not necessarily need a trust. However, if you have a trust you still need a will.
There is a lot more to estate planning, including additional basic information that you should know.
An estate planning can easily get you started on creating an estate plan that meets your unique circumstances.
Reference: Cincinnati.com (Nov. 2, 2017) "Now is the time to consider the basics of estate planning."