Chapter 3 “Living Trusts”

August 28, 2023

Chapter 3 of Living Trusts, titled “Comparison of Trusts and Wills,”  is dedicated to illuminating the distinctions between these two pivotal estate planning tools. The chapter commences by elucidating the core disparities between living trusts and wills, effectively conveying how they operate during an individual’s lifetime and after their passing.

An in-depth analysis of the probate process is provided, emphasizing how living trusts can circumvent probate, while wills typically necessitate it. The chapter delves into the privacy aspects, underscoring how wills become public records, whereas living trusts remain confidential and private.

Further exploration encompasses the distribution of assets. While living trusts offer controlled and gradual asset distribution, wills tend to provide a more immediate allocation. The efficiency of the two approaches is discussed, detailing how living trusts can expedite the process, whereas wills might encounter probate-related delays.

Flexibility in amending documents is another focal point, elaborating on how living trusts can be modified during the grantor’s lifetime, whereas wills might be less flexible to change. The financial aspect is addressed, detailing the costs associated with establishing and maintaining both types of documents, while highlighting potential savings linked to avoiding probate through a trust.

The susceptibility to challenges is discussed, indicating that wills are often more prone to contestation due to their public nature. Tax implications are also examined, shedding light on potential differences in estate and income taxes affected by the choice between trusts and wills.

The chapter provides guidance on the suitability of each approach based on individual circumstances, as well as scenarios where a combination of both methods might be advantageous. It concludes by emphasizing how these tools can complement each other within a comprehensive estate plan.

In essence, Chapter 3 serves to empower readers with an informed understanding of the contrasts between living trusts and wills, enabling them to make judicious decisions that harmonize with their unique estate planning goals and requirements.