Asks the Important Question: Living Trust vs. Will: Which Is the Best Option?

January 28 12:09 2023 Asks the Important Question: Living Trust vs. Will: Which Is the Best Option?

People spend a lifetime amassing assets. Regardless of whether these assets are worth hundreds of dollars or millions of dollars, the individual wants to have control over what happens to the assets when they pass. An estate plan is of great benefit in outlining the owner’s wishes regarding the assets. 

Most people know they need a will to share their wishes regarding these assets. However, some people would benefit more from a living trust, and a person can click here for more info. What is this document, and how does it differ from a will? When should each be used? 

What is a Will?

When most people this of end-of-life documents, they think of a will. This legal document outlines what they would like done with their belongings when they pass. This document also can be used to determine who will serve as the guardian for minor children, the person’s wishes regarding their burial or cremation, and things of that nature. Every person should have a will. If a living trust is needed, this document can be crafted once the will is in place. 

Living Trusts

According to, a living trust also outlines a person’s wishes regarding their assets when they pass. However, when a property is used to fund the living trust, the trust owns the property. The owner retains control of the assets by naming themselves the trustee while they are alive. They must name a successor to take on these duties when they pass. Living trusts do not go through probate. Beneficiaries receive any assets exactly as the document outlines. This allows the heirs to avoid court proceedings. 

A living trust must be funded and actively managed. In addition, only those assets included in the trust can be controlled by the trustee. If the trust is not funded or assets have not been transferred upon the owner’s demise, the estate will be subject to probate and the heirs may be required to pay estate taxes. 

Which Option is Best? 

A person might ask which option is best for their needs. A trust comes with many benefits, but it does take more time, effort, and money. If informal probate is an option due to the low value of the estate, there is no need for a living trust. The same holds if the state has a simplified probate process. For those individuals who wish to manage their estate plan actively, however, a living trust is the best option, but only if assets are transferred into the trust. Consider this when contemplating ”Revocable Living Trust vs. Will: Which Will Protect Your Money Best?

A living trust is the best option for those individuals whose objectives cannot be met with a will. However, the living trust does come with a higher price tag, so the individual must weigh the benefits versus the cost. 

Work with an estate planner, such as Harbor Law, to ensure the right selection is made. They help individuals make this decision regularly based on their specific circumstances. What works for one person might not be appropriate for another, which is why this professional advice is so beneficial. Make an appointment to meet with an estate planner today and have peace of mind knowing assets will be handled properly.

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