Are you getting ready to formalize your estate planning needs, but undecided about if you should create a living trust or a will? You'll definitely want to know the key differences between these two estate planning methods so that you can pick the best one for your needs.
When people talk about a living trust, they are often referring to a revocable living trust. This is when all of your assets are placed into the trust, meaning that titles for assets and property are put in the name of the trust rather than your name. The biggest advantage of a revocable living trust is that you have the ability to add and remove assets from the trust as you see fit while you are still alive. When you pass away, the assets in the trust automatically go to the other people that are the trustees.
The main downside of a living trust is that it is more complicated and expensive to set up. Any new assets that you receive must be retitled and formally put into the trust. This puts more of a burden on you to handle the estate planning but makes it easy for your heirs to receive their inheritance.
A last will and testament is going to be the simplest way for you to handle your estate planning. This is because it is a single document that lays out all of your desires for what you want to happen to your estate after you pass away. All of your assets are left in your name, without there being a need to retitle anything. You can simply state who you want to leave things to, such as a home, a vehicle, personal property, or anything that would need to be given to a specific person after you pass away.
One thing to keep in mind with a will is that you do not have to list any account in the will that has a beneficiary. This includes a retirement account, life insurance policy, bank account, and other accounts of that nature. These accounts automatically go to the beneficiary, so a will is not necessary.
The downside of a will is what your heirs have to go through after you pass away. The will must go through probate so that it can be validated, and the will then becomes part of the public record. The entire process can be expensive and time-consuming, and delay your heirs from receiving their inheritance.
To learn more, contact an estate planning attorney.