Wills and trusts, as methods of transfer of estate ownership, share a few similarities. Both are essentially planning documents that determine who benefits from one’s given assets after their passing. An experienced estate attorney can help you decide which option is best for you and your family.
While revocable trusts are amendable documented measures put in place to cater for property while the owner is alive or after his/her death, wills are documents that are authorized to dictate the distribution of properties after his/her death. Some of the similarities between wills and revocable living trusts are:
Revision of wishes
If the time ever comes when you feel changes should be made to the contents of an irrevocable living trust, there is nothing that can be done. However, revocable living trusts and wills share the advantage that allows the author of the will or creator of the trust to change the instructions contained in both documents. An experienced estate attorney can assist you with drafting a new will, drafting a codicil to your existing will, or amending your revocable living trust.
Ease of creation
Wills and revocable trusts are also remarkably less complicated than irrevocable trusts. There must be two witnesses and the signature of the person making the will, but there are no rules that demand that a complex format be followed when creating a will.
Trusts also have no such requirements for complications too. The trustee’s responsibilities must be outlined in the trust, and revocable living trusts demand the attendance and signature of a notary public. Nevertheless, if you are allied with proficient estate planning attorneys, you are well on your way to seamlessly and easily transferring your property into a trust.
Transferring property to minors
Wills cannot be directly used to transfer properties to underage beneficiaries, since they cannot legally own properties in the first place. Fortunately, our estate planning attorneys are experienced in estate planning and dealing with issues of providing for your younger heirs. Various mechanisms can include creating testamentary trusts from wills, naming a temporary manager until the young children are least 18 or designating a custodian under the Uniform Transfer to Minor Act. Trusts are more straightforward and can also be used to transfer property to minors by naming a trustee to manage the affairs of the estate until the beneficiary comes of the age determined by you.
With a will, one can transfer assets once they die, but the management of these assets cannot exactly be controlled. You simply give the details of the property and name the new owner you want for the property.
On the other hand, in the case of revocable trusts, there can be flexibility in asset distribution. For instance, money held in a trust can be slated to be delivered over time. Some individuals employ this leverage to grant beneficiaries only portions of their inheritance at various set times – a time-bound transfer of fortune that acts to protect the beneficiary until he/she is ready to fully bear the responsibility of taking charge of the property.
Wills are not meant to be used when an estate owner intends to keep details about his/her property a secret.. Wills become public documents after the death of the deceased, something revocable living trusts are clearly advantaged in, since they remain a private construct even after the death of the person putting the property in the trust.
Probate is a court process that examines the estates of the deceased to sum up any leftover taxes or debts. Probate can take a long time before completion and can be a costly process involving court costs and attorney fees amongst other costs. If you have a will, your estate will likely have to go through probate. If your property is held in trust, you may be able to avoid probate. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. Keep in mind that no two cases are ever the same! Thus, it is vital that consult with experienced estate planning attorneys for the best course of action, and make sure that the appropriate estate plan is chosen for you and your family.