Did you know that less than half of all American citizens don't have a will?
Since no one can be certain when their time will come, it's important to prepare yourself. Without a will, handling your estate can end up becoming a mess. The last thing you'd want is to give your grieving family members a headache in addition to everything else.
You also need to decide if your situation calls for a will or a living trust. Are you unsure what would be most appropriate? Keep reading to learn all about the differences between a living trust vs will.
What Is a Living Trust?
Like a will, a living trust is something that must be set up within your lifetime rather than posthumously. As the grantor, it's up to you to decide who will take control of your assets in a temporary capacity for the purpose of distribution.
It should be emphasized in this living trust guide that your trustee can't distribute your assets if you don't take the time to determine their allocation in detail. It's this part of the living trust that's similar to a will.
With that in mind, a living trust isn't complete without addressing your assets and the people to who you want to give them. This could take the form of a vehicle, a house, a jewelry collection, various heirlooms, and even the contents of one or more bank accounts.
The distribution will only go into effect after the grantor has passed away. Just be sure you choose a trustee who you trust completely. That way, you can rest easy knowing they'll have your best interests in mind during the distribution process.
You can also choose if you want the living trust to be irrevocable or revocable. An irrevocable living trust involves handing over some of your rights to the trustee. This isn't as common as a revocable living trust which allows you to determine what assets are part of the document, among other factors.
One disadvantage of a living trust is that its execution may require the assistance of an estate lawyer. This could add some extra costs that you may not have anticipated.
What Is a Will?
Whether you try to do the will writing yourself or hire a professional, it's crucial to ensure that everything has been completed according to the relevant laws and regulations. These can vary from state to state, so be sure you aren't following the wrong rules by accident.
One rule often involves having one or more witnesses who can attest to your will. This can ensure that the distribution process goes as smoothly as possible after you pass on.
Unlike a living trust, when you write a will, you don't get to decide on a trustee. This means it'll be up to a third party to handle the allocation and distribution of your assets. The downside of this is that it can make the process more expensive and lengthy.
This is why most people decide to go with a living trust instead. Since it has everything a will is supposed to have and more, there's no major disadvantage to opting for a living trust instead of a will.
If you don't decide on either a will or a living trust, then your assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state you live in. This could create problems for everyone involved.
How Can I Find a Reliable Legal Professional?
Whether you've decided on going with a living trust or a will, there's no getting around the necessity of hiring a legal professional. Since they know the rules and regulations pertaining to these documents, they can guide you every step of the way.
The key is to find an attorney who specializes in living wills and testaments. If you go with a tenant's rights lawyer, for instance, there's no guarantee that they can do everything by the book.
While it's important to take every online review with a grain of salt, reading these can go a long way toward helping you find the right legal professional. Aside from individual reviews, it's also helpful to take note of the number of reviews and the accumulative score.
A low number of reviews and a high score isn't as impressive as a high number of reviews and a high score, even if it's slightly lower. If you want more reliable information regarding a legal professional's capabilities, you should ask them for a couple of referrals.
Be sure the referrals are for recent clients so that the information you get from them is as up-to-date as possible. Once you get them on the phone, you should ask about the attorney's expertise, timeliness, the fairness of their prices, and much more.
If you're still stumped, then it could be worth it to ask your family members or good friends for some recommendations. There's a high chance that you know at least one person who had a positive experience completing their will or living trust.
Are You Ready to Decide Between a Living Trust Vs Will?
Now that you've learned all about the differences between a living trust vs will, you can decide which is best for your current situation. Remember to seek out the help of a legal professional so you can ensure everything is completed correctly.
We can help by providing you with a wide range of will supplies, tab dividers, legal papers, and so much more. When you have the right tools, the job will be much easier. Plus, everything can stay organized for years to come.
Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions regarding our high-quality products.