Why Would You Have a Family Living Trust Rather than a Will?

Clients often ask why they should choose a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) rather than a will as their primary estate planning vehicle.

Families can have complicated situations. Taking into account the unique dynamics of your family, here are some reasons why you might want to create a family living trust rather than a will.

Avoiding post-death disputes
You may have a blended family, a beneficiary with financial or legal challenges, disgruntled or estranged relatives, or any number of considerations unique to your family. If you think that there might be a family fight after you pass away, you can avoid it by placing your assets in an RLT instead of a will that can be more easily contested.

Privacy concerns
You may want to choose a living trust rather than a will if you want to keep the details of your estate private. A will must be filed with a probate court, so it becomes a public document. An RLT only becomes a public document if it’s involved in a litigation matter.

Honoring specific bequests
If you want to bequest specific items to specific people, a living trust may be advantageous over a will. You can attach a Specific Bequest Schedule to either an RLT or a will; however, a schedule attached to a will must be limited to items of tangible personal property, such as jewelry or art. Any bequests of other types of property, such as money, stock, or real estate, must be written into the will itself and not on the Specific Bequest Schedule, unless it is signed with will formalities.

Reducing family stress
If you become incapacitated due to illness or your faculties start to decline, family members may become distressed about how to manage your assets. An RLT allows you to turn asset management over to the trust so that family members have fewer things to do and less to worry about.

If you need help deciding if a living trust is right for your family rather than a will, we welcome you to contact our experienced estate planning attorneys for advice.

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