A living trust and a will are both estate planning tools used to manage the distribution of a person’s assets after their death, but there are some key differences between the two:
- Probate: A will must go through the probate process, which is a legal proceeding that takes place in court to verify the authenticity of the will and to ensure that the deceased person’s assets are distributed according to their wishes. In contrast, a living trust typically avoids probate, as the assets are held by the trust and not the deceased person.
- Control of assets: With a will, the assets are not transferred until the probate process is complete, which can take several months or even years. In contrast, with a living trust, the assets are transferred to the trust immediately, allowing the trustee to manage them according to the trust’s terms.
- Privacy: Wills are public documents and can be viewed by anyone. A living trust, on the other hand, is a private document and is not required to be filed with the court.
- Incapacity: A living trust can also be used to manage assets in the event of the person’s incapacity, whereas a will only takes effect upon the person’s death.
Overall, a living trust may offer more flexibility and control over the distribution of assets, while also potentially avoiding the probate process and maintaining privacy. However, it is important to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine which option is best for your specific needs and circumstances.