Living Trusts Versus Wills

Living Trusts Versus Wills

A common question people have in the estate planning process is the differences between living wills and trusts. Although both are excellent estate planning tools, often people lack a full grasp of what these documents actually do and are ill prepared to make such an important choice between them. Both documents offer you the ability to name beneficiaries of your property, but they function quite differently in how your property is distributed.


One of the main reasons that people choose to transfer their property to a trust rather than using a will is to avoid probate. This legal process that occurs after a person dies can be a time-consuming and occasionally expensive one. You can, however, legally avoid the necessity of probate and distribute funds through a living trust.


When a person creates a living trust, they are actually transferring all over their property away while they are still alive. However, they retain control of the property until they die, at which point the property is transferred according to the terms of the trust. It is an excellent way to distribute your assets, but it does require quite a bit of planning and you must actively transfer the titles to all of your assets to the trust. Anything not transferred to the trust will not be included in it, so a person must be thorough.


A will, on the other hand, is far simpler. While they need to be property written and legally witnessed, they are a straightforward way to know that your estate will be handled properly. In them, you can name guardians for your children, instruct on how taxes and other expenses will be paid and, of course, leave your property to your heirs. If your family does not mind the delays posed by probate, wills are a good option to use as your estate-planning tool.


To learn more about the difference between wills and trusts and to decide what option is best for you, speak with a knowledgeable Florida estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.