Berman & Asbel, LLP

Should You Have a Living Trust, or Will a Will Suffice?

There is no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to estate planning. That being said, certain options are a good fit for many people.

Wills and living trusts, for example, can provide a number of protections and benefits for most people. However, one might be a slightly better fit than the other, as discussed in this Forbes article, and finding the right option for you will depend on a number of factors we examine below.

The benefits of a living trust

A living or revocable trust is a tool you can use to hold your assets for your benefit during your lifetime. You can control and manage the trust provisions as the grantor, and you will receive income on any asset owned by the trust.

A revocable trust can also make it easier for assets to transfer to beneficiaries. You can avoid the probate process with a trust, which can help preserve more money in your estate. Last, a trust can ensure privacy because financial details will not become matters of public record.

When a will can be sufficient

As beneficial as trusts can be for a lot of people, they are not right or necessary for everyone. A will, on the other hand, is one of the basic estate planning tools that just about every person should have.

Wills allow you to define your wishes and distribute assets to your loved ones; compared to trusts they are less complicated and costly to set up. Further, wills can establish things like guardianship, so they are beneficial even if you do not have significant assets.

Figuring out what you need

Whether you need a will and a trust or just a will depends on a number of factors, including the type and size of assets you wish to protect. Also taken into consideration are your priorities for your estate. For instance, is flexibility more important, or is convenience more important? 

You can discuss these and other critical factors with an attorney who can help you craft an estate plan that reflects your goals and needs. Legal advice and support can be important in helping you put a comprehensive and effective estate plan in place that is right for you.

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