Many clients know they need to make plans in the event of their death, but often don’t know where or how to start. One question many wonder is if they should choose a living trust or a last will.
First it is crucial to know what each of those offer before you can choose the one that is the best option for your family and loved ones.
A will is a written document signed and witnessed which describes how you wish your property to be divided after you are done. It is fully revocable and can be amended or changed at any point in your lifetime. It allows you to name guardians for your children, should you have young ones that would need to be cared for in the event of your passing.
A living trust can provide both lifetime management and after-death management of your property. This legal written document places your assets into a trust while you are alive and then ownership of that trust is transferred to a named beneficiary or beneficiaries upon your death.
Each has their benefits and drawbacks. A living trust means you can avoid probate by the court. Your named successor will divide up your assets and pay your debts instead of an executor and court deciding how that process occurs. It can cost more than a will to establish, but it could save money on court costs in the end.
Living trusts are designed to give your more privacy because unlike a will, it is not made public. A living trust may also benefit you if you are disabled or ill because your named successor can take over for you.
You do have to actively manage a living trust, however, and if you do not add assets to it, those assets will still have to go through probate upon your death.
If you are working on your estate planning, it is best to speak with an experienced Tennessee estate planning attorney who can help set your mind at ease. Call us today for your free, initial consultation.