What is the difference between a will and a living trust?
A will and a living trust are both estate planning tools that can help you distribute your assets to your loved ones after you pass away. However, they differ in several important ways.
A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets after your death. In a will, you can name an executor to manage your estate, specify how your assets will be distributed, and name guardians for any minor children you have. A will only goes into effect after you pass away, and it must go through the probate process, which is a court-supervised process that ensures your debts are paid and your assets are distributed according to your wishes. A will can be changed at any time during your lifetime.
A living trust, on the other hand, is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets into the trust while you are still alive. The trust becomes the owner of the assets, and you can continue to manage them as the trustee of the trust. In the trust document, you can name a successor trustee who will take over the management of the trust and distribution of assets when you pass away or become incapacitated. A living trust does not go through the probate process, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Instead, the successor trustee can distribute the assets according to your wishes without court supervision. A living trust can also be changed or revoked at any time during your lifetime.
Overall, a will is a simpler and less expensive option for those with smaller estates, while a living trust can provide more control, privacy, and flexibility for those with larger estates or complex family situations. It’s important to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine which option is best for your specific needs and circumstances. Our office provides free consultations to all new clients so that you can feel confident and empowered as you establish an estate plan best suited for your needs.
The information provided herein is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with, and we accept no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken based on this publication. It is not intended, and should not be used, as a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation.