When considering your estate planning options, you might find yourself debating between a revocable living trust and a will. These two tools are essential in determining how your assets will be distributed and managed after your death. Heritage Law Office, with our experienced estate planning attorneys, can guide you through the decision-making process and provide an outline of your best options. Contact us either online or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation today.
Revocable Living Trust: An Overview
A revocable living trust is a legal entity created to hold your assets during your lifetime and distribute them upon your death. The primary benefits of a revocable living trust include:
Revocable living trusts can help avoid the time-consuming and expensive probate process. Assets held in a trust don't need to go through probate, saving your heirs both time and money.
Unlike a will, which becomes public record once it enters probate, a revocable living trust remains private. This means the details of your estate plan and your assets remain confidential.
As the name suggests, a revocable living trust can be changed or revoked during your lifetime. This allows you to make adjustments to your estate plan as your circumstances change.
Will: An Overview
A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. Some advantages of a will include:
Creating a will is generally more straightforward than establishing a revocable living trust. The process can be less complicated, making it a more accessible option for many individuals.
A will allows you to designate a guardian for minor children, ensuring they are cared for by someone you trust in the event of your death.
With a will, you can appoint an executor to handle the administration of your estate. This person will be responsible for paying debts, managing assets, and distributing your property according to your wishes.
Comparing Revocable Living Trusts and Wills
When choosing between a revocable living trust and a will, consider the following factors:
Cost and Complexity
Establishing a revocable living trust can be more complex and expensive than drafting a will. However, the potential savings from avoiding probate may outweigh the initial costs.
A revocable living trust can provide ongoing management of your assets during your lifetime, including if you become incapacitated. A will does not offer this level of protection and control.
For most people, there are minimal tax differences between a revocable living trust and a will. However, those with substantial assets or unique circumstances may benefit from specialized tax planning.
Which is Right for You?
Ultimately, the decision between a revocable living trust and a will depends on your specific circumstances, goals, and preferences. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option and guide you toward the best choice for your situation.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney at Heritage Law Office
If you need assistance determining whether a revocable living trust or a will is the best fit for your estate planning needs, contact our knowledgeable attorneys by using the online form or calling us directly at 414-253-8500. At Heritage Law Office, we offer remote, phone, and online appointments, ensuring you can receive our services wherever you are.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the primary difference between a revocable living trust and a will?
A revocable living trust is a legal entity that holds your assets during your lifetime and distributes them upon your death, whereas a will is a legal document that simply outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. A living trust offers benefits such as avoiding probate, privacy, and flexibility, while a will is more straightforward to create, allows guardianship decisions for minor children, and provides executor control.
2. Does a revocable living trust or a will provide better tax benefits?
For most people, the tax implications of a revocable living trust and a will are similar. However, individuals with substantial assets or unique circumstances may find tax benefits in one over the other. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney or tax specialist can provide more tailored advice.
3. Which is more expensive to set up - a revocable living trust or a will?
Typically, establishing a revocable living trust is more expensive and complex than drafting a will. However, the costs associated with probate that a living trust can avoid may make it a more cost-effective option in the long run.
4. Can I change the terms of a revocable living trust?
Yes, one of the main benefits of a revocable living trust is its flexibility. The trust can be changed or even revoked at any point during your lifetime, allowing for adjustments as your circumstances change.
5. Can a will protect my estate if I become incapacitated?
No, a will only takes effect after your death. It doesn't provide any control or protection over your assets if you become incapacitated. A revocable living trust, on the other hand, can provide ongoing management of your assets during your lifetime, including in cases of incapacitation.