The Advantages of a Living Trust Over a Traditional Will


A living trust is a legal document that appoints someone to manage your property and assets. It’s called a living trust because it’s established during your lifetime. As long as you are of sound mind, you can alter or dissolve the trust at any time of your choosing. A living trust only becomes irrevocable when you die.

On the other hand, a will is a written document that indicates how your property and assets will be distributed at the time of your death. It must be signed and witnessed for it to become legal. A will is also revocable and subject to amendments at any moment during your lifetime. In addition, it allows you to designate a guardian for your minor children.

The advantages of a living trust over a traditional will:

Planning

A living trust is designed to cover all three phases of your life:

  • When you are alive and well
  • Incapacitated
  • After your death

It stipulates how your mental incapacity should be determined, the kind of care you should receive and who should manage your property if you are unable to do it yourself. This means that your estate will be kept out of court-supervised conservator-ship or guardianship. Conversely, a will mainly covers what happens after your death. It does not fully cater for the unforeseen aspects of your life.

Avoids probate

A living trust is very cost-effective. In most cases, it enables you to avoid the expense and delay associated with probate hearings. Taking a will through probate court can take as long as 3 years to complete. In addition, the value of your estate may depreciate by as much as 10%.

With a living trust, you can immediately transfer the management of your estate to your trustee if you become incapacitated or terminally ill. You won’t have to go to the court to appoint a conservator or guardian, which is usually the case with a traditional will.

Privacy

Taking a will through probate means filing probate documents with the courts’ clerk; this makes each probate hearing a matter of public record. People will have access to your Last Will and Testament; the list containing your beneficiaries and a systematic breakdown of how your property will be distributed. With a living trust, everything is private. It is a contract between you and the trustee. You don’t have to file it with any courts clerk.

A living trust obviously has more advantages than a traditional will. It caters to all the necessary aspects of proper estate planning.