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Do I need a will or living trust? Decisions, Decisions!

It’s never too early to get your estate plan done. At C&G, we always say that if you only have a dollar, you need to decide what will happen with that dollar! More people are starting to recognize this fact but find themselves asking: Do I need a will or living trust? Well, it depends. Here are a few fast WILL vs. LIVING TRUST facts:

A WILL can appoint a guardian for minor children and specify what happens to your property at your death. A WILL by itself does not avoid probate. A WILL does not determine what happens in the event of your incapacity while you are living.

A LIVING TRUST can allow you to avoid probate, maintain privacy and address the possibility of your incapacity. Among other things, it is a tool you can use during your lifetime and after your death to manage and administer your property.

The decision is a no-brainer, right? Not necessarily. For starters, a LIVING TRUST is more expensive than a WILL because it has to be managed after it’s created. It’s also more work- for you or whoever you appoint as Trustee! Additionally, you have to properly FUND the trust at the time you set it up. You cannot set a LIVING TRUST up and intend to fund it at some point in the future. If you do that and something happens to you, it will negate the reason you set the trust up in the first place!

These are just a few general distinctions between these two estate planning tools. There are a number of factors about you and your circumstances that will determine what tool works best for you. A lot of people talk to their family, friends and co-workers about this issue and base what they want to do on what those people do. This is a big mistake! Estate plans are not generic and one size fits all- they are highly specialized, fluid and situation-specific. It is important that you talk to a professional to determine what works best for YOU and YOUR circumstances. Give us a call today!

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