This article gives a brief overview of the primary differences between a will and a trust. Please contact us at 602-371-8898 to discuss specific questions and review your situation in depth.
A will is a legal document that describes how you want your assets distributed when you die. How things get distributed after your death is controlled by a legal process called probate, and supervises the allocation of your assets, instead of your family members. This can be a very expensive and lengthy process, and one that you will want to avoid if possible. The lawyer and court costs of this process are paid for by the assets of the estate. It is estimated that probate costs typically range from 4% – 7% of the value of the estate.
The good news is that you can avoid the probate process by having an estate plan in place.
With a living (revocable) trust, you maintain control and can change or even dissolve the trust for as long as you’re alive.
One key difference between a will and a living trust is that a will only takes effect when you pass away. It does not offer you protection if you are still alive, but unable to make decisions for any reason. With a living trust, you will designate who will take care of your affairs, not the court.
To avoid probate, create a comprehensive estate plan. A comprehensive estate plan is more than just a will and a trust. Typically, it contains a living trust, a pour-over will (where all of your property goes to the trustee of your trust), an advanced health care directive (this is a power of attorney for health care), a durable power of attorney, and guardianship if you have children who are minors.
As you can see, this can be a complicated area and it may seem overwhelming at first. We at Premier Documents, LLC can help you understand everything and setup a full estate plan to cover you in all scenarios.
To find out more, please attend one of our events or give us a call at 602-371-8898 and we’ll be happy to setup a time to go over everything with you.