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What is the Difference Between a Will and a Revocable Living Trust?

Wills: Wills are one of the basic ways to plan for your estate. A Will allows you to designate responsible parties and plans of action upon your passing, including who receives your assets. In addition, a Will can establish who should provide care for a minor child through guardianship provisions. Individuals with complex assets may find Wills limiting, especially because property in a Will must go through probate which is costly and time consuming for beneficiaries. Generally speaking, Wills are appropriate for those who do not own real property and have straightforward distribution plans in mind.

Trusts: One of the most advantageous aspects of Revocable Living Trusts is that they allow one’s estate to avoid probate. Furthermore, a Revocable Living Trust can provide more detailed inheritance planning that can benefit you and your loved ones. For example, a Revocable Living Trust can allow you to postpone distributions to young beneficiaries until they have reached an age of financial maturity. If one owns real property, the Revocable Living Trust is one of the best ways to transfer that property to beneficiaries without the need for probate. Further, we structure our Revocable Living Trust Packages to include guardianship provisions for minor children.

 

Our Will Packages Our Trust Packages
Outlines how assets are to be disbursed Outlines how assets are to be disbursed
Limited terms of asset disbursement Terms of asset disbursement are wide and can be customized based on age, circumstances, contingencies, etc.
Requires probate process (substantial cost and time before disbursement) Avoids probate entirely
N/A Filing of Grant Deeds
Establish guardianship for minors (Pour-over Will)
Select agent(s) to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so (Advance Health Care Directive)
Select agent(s) to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so (Durable Power of Attorney)
What is the Difference Between a Will and a Revocable Living Trust?
Wills: Wills are one of the basic ways to plan for your estate. A Will allows you to designate responsible parties and plans of action upon your passing, including who receives your assets. In addition, a Will can establish who should provide care for a minor child through guardianship provisions. Individuals with complex assets may find Wills limiting, especially because property in a Will must go through probate which is costly and time consuming for beneficiaries. Generally speaking, Wills are appropriate for those who do not own real property and have straightforward distribution plans in mind.

Trusts: One of the most advantageous aspects of Revocable Living Trusts is that they allow one’s estate to avoid probate. Furthermore, a Revocable Living Trust can provide more detailed inheritance planning that can benefit you and your loved ones. For example, a Revocable Living Trust can allow you to postpone distributions to young beneficiaries until they have reached an age of financial maturity. If one owns real property, the Revocable Living Trust is one of the best ways to transfer that property to beneficiaries without the need for probate. Further, we structure our Revocable Living Trust Packages to include guardianship provisions for minor children.

 

Our Will Packages Our Trust Packages
Outlines how assets are to be disbursed Outlines how assets are to be disbursed
Limited terms of asset disbursement Terms of asset disbursement are wide and can be customized based on age, circumstances, contingencies, etc.
Requires probate process (substantial cost and time before disbursement) Avoids probate entirely
N/A Filing of Grant Deeds
Establish guardianship for minors (Pour-over Will)
Select agent(s) to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so (Advance Health Care Directive)
Select agent(s) to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so (Durable Power of Attorney)
Is a Will or a Revocable Living Trust Right for Me?

A Will package outlines responsible parties and plans of action for when you pass, outlines healthcare directives in the event you are incapacitated, and establishes care for a minor child. Upon passing, a Will must go through probate before assets can be disbursed, and the cost for this comes directly from the assets within the Will (total cost is dependent upon assets owned at death and can be upwards of tens of thousands of dollars). Additionally, this process delays any disbursement of funds until probate is completed. If you do not own any real property (i.e. a home, apartment, condo, or vacant lots), are not concerned with the cost of probate or the time it will take to disburse your assets, a Will may be right for you.

A Revocable Living Trust allows one’s estate to avoid probate. Furthermore, a Revocable Living Trust can provide more detailed inheritance planning that can benefit you and your loved ones. For example, a Revocable Living Trust can allow you to postpone distributions to young beneficiaries until they have reached an age of financial maturity. If you own any real property or have assets and want to avoid the cost, time, and stress associated with probate after you pass, a Revocable Living Trust may be right for you.

Our firm can help you decide which is right for you as initial consultations are always free. Call Idaho : 208-819-3184 California : 310-488-3320 to learn more.

Can I Do a Will or Trust Myself?

While anyone may legally draft a Will or Revocable Living Trust themselves, it is strongly advised that one seek advice and counsel from an experienced Estate Planning Attorney to ensure that one’s wishes are enacted and memorialized appropriately. There are various complex issues that are inherent in drafting such legal documents, and an experienced Estate Planning Attorney can advise you on best practices for your unique situation and can spot issues and red flags that you may not have considered. All too often, families of loved ones who believe they are prepared with a DIY trust or Will end up facing challenges that could have otherwise been avoided.

What Does Probate Mean?

Probate is the court-supervised process of authenticating a last will and testament and settling a decedent’s estate. To do so, the Will is filed with the court and a personal representative is appointed. The personal representative is responsible for gathering the decedent’s assets, paying final bills and taxes, and distributing any remaining assets to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries. This process is supervised by the Court, can take from six months to over a year to finish, delays distribution of assets, and has substantial costs. The cost of probate is set by statute and is based upon the value of the probate assets owed at death and these costs are usually paid out of the estate and therefore minimizes the ultimate assets distributed to beneficiaries. See “Does a Will Allow Me to Avoid Probate?” or “How Can I Avoid Probate?”

Does a Will Allow Me to Avoid Probate?
Unfortunately, no. A Will must still go through probate. See “Is a Will or a Trust Right for Me?” or “How Can I Avoid Probate?”
How Can I Avoid Probate?
As probate is costly and delays the distribution of assets, many are interested in creating a structure that allows them to avoid probate. One of the most effective and efficient ways to avoid probate is by establishing a Revocable Living Trust.