As if deciding what happens after you croak wasn’t morbid, complicated, and stressful enough, you also have to decide how you want your estate distributed. And that means dealing with trusts and wills.

Don’t leave this to your loved ones to figure out. Take the time now to understand the difference between a living trust vs a will, and make the decision that’s best for you and your family.

Keep reading to learn more about these two legal procedures.

What Is a Living Trust?

The Advantages of Trusts

A living trust is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after you die. You can name a trustee (including yourself) to manage the trust and beneficiaries who will receive your assets.

What Is a Will?

A will is also a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after you die. You name an executor to carry out your wishes, and beneficiaries who will receive your assets.

Those things seem the same. But there are major differences.

Living Trust vs A Will

What’s the difference between a living trust and a will? A living trust is created and can be executed during your lifetime, while a will only goes into effect after you die. With a living trust, you can specify exactly how and when you want your assets to be distributed.

Wills require going through probate court, which can be time-consuming and costly. Trusts are private documents that avoid probate but are more expensive to set up and manage initially.

What Is a Living Will

Probate is the legal process of settling your estate, and as mentioned it can be expensive and time-consuming. If you have a living trust, your assets can be distributed without going through probate. Your successor trustee simply follows the instructions in the trust document.

If you have a will, your executor must file it with the probate court. The court then supervises the distribution of your assets according to your wishes. This process can take months or even years which is why it can be so costly.

A Difference

Another major difference is that trusts are revocable, meaning you can change them at any time during your lifetime. You can also name yourself the trustee, which gives you complete control over your assets while you’re alive. Wills are not revocable, and you cannot name yourself as the executor.

5 Things You Should Know About Writing a Will

So, what’s better – a living trust or a will? The experts at say it depends on your personal circumstances. If you want to avoid probate, have more control over your assets, and be able to change your mind about your distribution wishes, then a living trust is the way to go. If you don’t mind going through probate and you’re okay with not being able to change your will, then a will may be the better option.

Get Help Deciding

Creating a living trust vs a will is a big decision. You want to make sure you do what’s best for you and your family. Consider talking to an experienced estate planning attorney in your state to get started.

Keep exploring this blog for more lifestyle tips and advice.

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