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Is a living trust and a will the same?

If you are in the beginning stages of your estate planning, you may think that a living trust and a will are essentially the same thing. Even though each of these documents will provide the same types of benefits, they are both unique in their own ways. When you don’t fully understand the benefits or limitations of a will or living trust, you may be making estate planning decisions that will not fit for you or your family. 

Revocable living trust

A written agreement that designates someone to assume the responsibility for managing your property is called a revocable living trust. The living part is in there because it is established while you are alive. By being revocable, it means you can change or cancel the trust at any time whenever you want for any reason as long as you are mentally competent. Usually, a living trust cannot be changed, or it becomes irrevocable once you die.

Typically, many people will name themselves and a spouse to be the trustee. This allows you to have full control over your property while you are alive and gives you the ability to handle the property in any way you want.

The difference between a will and a living trust

A will and a living trust will each provide instructions pertaining to inheritance and what your final wishes are for your property. However, a trust does allow you the opportunity to avoid probate if you have privacy concerns since you can bypass a court hearing where the information becomes part of the public record.

If you currently do not have a will or a living trust, you should plan to review your estate and decide which one is best for you. You will want to compare the finer details of both a will and living trust to see what stands out as a clear choice for what is best for you. Planning means you will have to weigh the pros and cons of each and make decisions. This may not always be fun, but you should consider it as necessary.

The good news is you do not have to handle the planning part of estate planning alone. The guidance of a professional estate planning expert will be able to answer all your questions and put you on a path you will feel the most comfortable with.

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