In a previous article, we touched upon Revocable Living Trusts and some of the advantages of forming a living trust during your lifetime. Today we wanted to provide a side-by-side comparison of a Last Will and Testament and a Revocable Living Trust. It is beneficial to understand that each has it’s own uses and advantages in order to plan effectively for the future.

Similarities

  • The aim of both a will and a living trust is to name the beneficiaries for your assets and property. In a living trust when a beneficiary is named, the assets must then be transferred into the trust. With a will the process is simpler: describe the property or asset and name the beneficiary.
  • Both wills and living trusts can be revised as circumstances or your wishes change. Decisions set forth in these documents do not become final until after your death (this is not the case for an irrevocable trust; for more information you should contact your attorney).
  • It is possible to leave property to minors with a will or living trust. A living trust allows the trustee  to manage any property for a minor until he/she comes of age. Property left to a minor by a will is managed a bit differently: in this case, an adult is put in charge of the property until the child turns 18.

Differences

  • After an individual’s passing, the access to the documents is limited by their type. A will becomes available for public viewing whereas a living trust remains private.
  • In general, a living trust should be stamped by a notary public. Wills do not have this same requirement.
  • Guardianship of minors can be detailed in a will. This is not the case with a living trust.

It is always a good idea to educate yourself on legal processes such as the formation of wills, the probate process, and what it means to have a living trust. Contact Lyons | Sullivan today; we will be glad to answer all of your questions and help you prepare for your future.