Do I need a Trust or a Will? (Part 3)

In Part 1, we explored what a Testamentary Will was and the typical costs associated with Probate of the Will. In Part 2, we explored what a Revocable Living Trust was and started exploring the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust.  In Part 3, we will finish exploring the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust and the benefits of a Testamentary Will.

Save Time

Probate takes time and is often dependent on court schedules. As an example, there was one case that we followed in 2012-2013 that had a trust, and had to go through probate because some of the assets were not included with the Revocable Living Trust.  In that case, the probated items took approximately nine additional months to resolve and cost attorney and personal representative fees were an additional $17,000.  I am using this example because it was a very simple estate with one beneficiary (widower), with no disputes, and no delays in the processing of documents.  It is important when you establish your trust; you ensure all of your property is properly included with the trust.

Continue reading Do I need a Trust or a Will? (Part 3)

Do I need a Trust or Will? (Part 2)

In Part 1, we explored what a Testamentary Will was and the typical costs associated with Probate of the Will. In Part 2, we will explore what a Revocable Living Trust is and start to explore the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust.

Revocable Living Trust

A Revocable Living Trust is a document that tells the successor trustee (acts similar to the executor or the personal representative in Testamentary Will) what you want to happen with your property after you pass away, and you can amend (change) the Revocable Living Trust at any time in the future.  A revocable living trust can also continue beyond the immediate distribution and can make distributions for ongoing care of children or pets.

Continue reading Do I need a Trust or Will? (Part 2)

Do I need a Trust or Will? (Part 1)  

Last Will ImageEstate Plans

One of the first questions we are usually asked is if someone really needs a trust or a will. In answering that, we need to explore what a Will does, how a Trust differs from a Will, and why they are important in an estate plan.

Everyone should have a either a Will or Trust (Estate Plan) because without one, the courts rely on statutes within the state to determine what happens to your estate. Even if there is no individual that you wish to leave your property to, it is often preferred to leave it to charity rather than the possibility of the government taking all or some of your estate.

There are three main reasons people choose to have a Revocable Living Trust over a will. A Trust tends to save money, save time, and protect privacy, although it tends to have a higher upfront cost than a will, it will tend to be cheaper than a will upon death. In this part, I will briefly discuss what a will does and explore the costs to the estate going through probate. Continue reading Do I need a Trust or Will? (Part 1)