Is a Trust for You or will a Will Simply Do?

Although it can be an uncomfortable, or even daunting, conversation to have, it is very important that everyone plans for the disposition of their property when they die. Making this conversation even more difficult is the fact that clients tend not to know whether they need a will or a revocable living trust, or what the difference is.

So, what is a will? A will is a legal document which comes into effect upon your death and provides for the orderly distribution of your property. It identifies a “Personal Representative,” who oversees the administration of your estate while the local probate court supervises the execution of its terms.

And, what is a revocable living trust? Unlike a will, a revocable living trust is a legal document which remains in effect during your lifetime and is used to manage your property and any income generated by it to your benefit. Much like a will, a revocable living trust distributes your assets according to your wishes but importantly it is not subject to the jurisdiction of the local probate court.



· Effective upon death

· Subject to probate

· Becomes a public document at time of death

· No tax advantages/disadvantages

· Requires powers of attorney and court-approved guardianships if you are incapacitated

· Inexpensive to create

· Probate costs can be high and result in greater overall estate costs

· Effective during lifetime

· Not subject to probate

· Always remains a private document, even after death

· No tax advantages/disadvantages

· Allows for appointment of successor trustee in the event of your incapacitation

· More expensive than a will

· Avoids probate costs altogether and thus is less expensive overall

There is no set formula, and the choice for which testamentary document is right for you should be tailored to individual estate planning needs. Call our office to set up an appointment for a free initial consultation with an attorney to determine those needs.