Wills vs Trusts

In general, Wills are usually easy and cheaper up front, but more effort and expense later on, while Trusts (also know as Revocable Living Trusts or RLT) are more work up front, more expense up front, and more administrative work along the way,  but usually less work and expense when you die.Wills are back-loaded, with the heirs assuming the burdens while living trusts are front-loaded, with the effort and expense up front, leaving fewer burdens on a surviving spouse, children or other heirs later.

Oh and by the way, just because you have a Trust, doesn’t mean you don’t have a Will and you may have a probate proceeding too.    If you leave an asset outside the Trust, you’ll need a probate proceeding to transfer it.

How Does this All Work?

With a Trust, you put all your assets into a Trust before you die.  Then when you die, it has all the assets, pays all the debts, and the Trustee handles everything.With a Will, the Will is presented to the local probate court and the court appoints your designated Executor.  Then the Executor, collects all the assets, pays all the debts and handles everything.

End Result is the Same

The end result whether through Probate with a Will or through a Trust is almost always the same. Bills and taxes are paid, and the assets are distributed to those who are supposed to receive them.  Both accomplish the same thing, wrapping up your affairs when you die.  They are just two different paths.The real question is at what cost and administrative burden and is one better than the other?

So What do I Recommend?

I recommend Wills to my younger clients since dealing with the hassles of a trust for 40 years is problematic.  Once my clients hit retirement, or have complicated problems with disability or are having problems handling their affairs, I recommend they rotate into a Trust.

More Information

If you want more information and a more in-depth discussion, see my website.