What is the Difference Between A Living Trust and A Will?

What is the Difference Between A Living Trust and A Will?

When planning for your family’s future, living trusts and wills are both tools that you can use to clarify your wishes regarding your property. Many people think that wills and living trusts are the same thing, but there are actually many differences between them. It is important to be aware of these differences when choosing which document you would like to file so you can make the best decision for your circumstances. In this article, we’ll go over the differences between these two legal documents, and help you decide which one is for you. Need more help? Consult a local attorney specializing in these documents for more information.

What is a will?
Many of us are very familiar with wills. They are official documents that are signed and witnessed that express your wishes regarding what happens to your property after your death. This property can include your home, your car, your investments and savings, your pets, and other possessions. You can also use a will to specify a guardian for your children if they are under 18 at the time of your death. You can change your will at any point during your lifetime depending on your wishes.

What is a living trust?
A living trust covers how your property is managed throughout your lifetime and after you pass on. With this document, you can control exactly what happens to your property instead of just leaving it to someone else. You can also plan for disability or any other type of incapacity if you wish. For example, if you were to suffer from dementia towards the end of your life, you could use a living trust to specify how you wanted your property and assets to be managed and appoint someone to carry out this plan.

What are the major differences between these documents?
There are a few major things that you can do with both wills and living trusts. With both types of documents, you can leave property to others and revise your documents as you go through life. However, there are some things you can only do with a will or only do with a living trust.

In general, living trusts are more complicated to make. With a living trust, you can keep your records private after your death, avoid probate, avoid court challenges, and avoid conservatorship. A living trust also requires the help of a notary public, while wills only require witnesses.

There are also certain things that you can only do with a will. These include naming guardians for your children, naming property managers for them if they will be inheriting property, naming an executor, and specifying how taxes and debts should be paid off. Wills are much easier to create on your own without the help of a lawyer (although this is not recommended).

Which option is best for me?
Whether you choose a living trust or a will depends on your personal needs. If you prefer to set something up quickly and easily that you can maintain without much help, a will is probably your best bet. A will is also the better option if you need to specify care for your young children. Additionally, wills are cheaper to make than living trusts.

However, there are certain benefits to living trusts than cannot be overlooked. The biggest benefit of using a living trust is that you can actively manage an estate of any size much more effectively than you would with a will. You can also specify in detail how the management of your property should be done without any court intervention. Overall, it is up to you to decide which option is a better fit for you.

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