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What is the difference between a Living Trust and a Will?


What are the differences between a revocable living trust and a will? And which should you choose?

Wills and Revocable living trusts will both allow you to name the people you want to inherit your property. Aside from that, they each are useful for varying purposes. For example, most people use living trusts to avoid probate. But living trusts are more complicated to make, and you can’t use a living trust to name an executor or guardians for your children. You need a will to do those things.

Read below for a comparison of what wills and living trusts can do. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Name people to inherit your property. The main purpose of both trusts and wills is to name beneficiaries for your property. In a will, you describe the property and list who you want to receive it. In a trust, you must do that and “transfer” the property into the trust. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.

Leave property to minors. Except for items of small worth, minor children cannot legally own property. When you leave property to a minor child, that property must be managed by an adult – at least until the child reaches age 18.


When leaving property to a minor child using a living trust, the trustee manages the property until the child reaches an age determined by you.


When leaving property to a minor using a will, you should name an adult to manage the property. Or, use your will to set up a testamentary trust for young children or name a custodian under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act. If you do not name an adult to manage property left to a minor through your will, the probate court will appoint someone to do it after your death. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Avoid your estate going through probate court. Property left through a living trust does not have to go through probate courts. Property left through a will does go through the probate court and process.


Probate is the court system designed to finalize an individual’s affairs after their death. Probate takes a long time, can be very expensive, and for most estates, isn’t necessary.

Because all property passing through a living trust does not have to go through probate, it can be distributed to the people you want it to be distributed to after your death, without any court fees or supervision from the court For this reason, many people chose to create a living trust. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Keep wishes from public view after death. After your death, a will must be filed in the local Court (Where you live) and that will make it a public document. A living trust does not, so many people choose to use a living trust to keep their choices and estate private. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Transfer of property into the trust. To leave property in a living trust, you must transfer the property into the trust. For certain types of property, you simply make a list of the property and attach it to the trust document. However, property with title documents, like real estate, must be retitled so that the owner of the property is the trust. This is usually not complicated or difficult, but an extra step that must happen. transfer of property is not required when using a will. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Protection from wishes being challenged in court. Court challenges to living trusts and wills are rare. But if there is a challenge, it's widely considered more difficult to successfully challenge a living trust than a will. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Avoid a conservatorship (in the event you become incapacitated before death). In a living trust, you can name your parent, spouse, friend, adult child, or other trusted person to have authority over property in the trust if you become incapacitated and unable to manage your own affairs. You cannot do this with a will; however, you can also make a durable power of attorney to appoint someone to manage your finances. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Name caregivers for your minor children in the event of your death. In a will, you can name care givers to care for your minor children. That is not something you can do in a living trust. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Name an executor to your estate. You can use your will to name an executor who will oversee wrapping up your estate after you die. That person will be responsible for communicating with the court, paying your bills, and, eventually, distributing any property that goes through probate. You can’t name an executor in a living trust. In your living trust, you name a successor trustee who will manage just the property left through the trust. Because most estates will need an executor to some extent, it makes sense to make a will and name an executor, even when you leave most of your property through a trust. In most cases, it also makes sense to name the same person for both jobs. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Simplicity. Wills are simple documents that require no specific language. They must have two people witness the signing of the will. Wills created by lawyers may contain a lot of legal language but there is nothing in the law that requires them to contain any specific language. In a lot of states, handwritten wills are accepted. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process.


Similarly, there are no laws that require living trust to be complicated. But because a living trust document must cover the trustee’s duties and obligations, they tend to be more complex. Also, instead of witnesses, you must have a notary public sign the document.


Finally, trusts are more involved to make because they require that you transfer real property into the trust.


Do I Need a Will or a Living Trust?

Most people need a will, but not everyone needs a living trust. Whether or not you need a living trust depends on your age, how wealthy you are, and whether you’re married.

Even if you decide that you need a living trust, you should also make a will to name an executor, name guardians for minor children, and take care of any property that doesn’t end up in your trust. Call us today at 510-571-7860 for a free consultation on the Estate Planning process. http://www.agoldenservice.com

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