The Difference Between Will-Based and Trust-Based Estate Plans

Chances are that your estate plan is going to involve a variety of different documents, but generally speaking, estate plans are centered around one of two different documents: a Will or a Revocable Living Trust. These documents, while similar, can have vastly different uses.

Will-based estate plans use the Will as the primary set of instructions that your chosen representative (or executor) must follow to distribute your assets after death. However, because Wills only take effect after a person’s death, they do not allow for any disability planning while the subject is still alive. This means that, if you utilize a Will-based estate plan, you will also need to establish powers of attorney and advanced medical directives to make sure you and your family are taken care of in case you suffer from mental incapacity prior to death.

On the other hand, Revocable Living Trust-based plans use a living trust as the main set of instructions for both disability as well as death. These plans generally do not cover advance medical directives or grants of authority for medical decisions, meaning that it will likely be necessary to establish powers of attorney.

Which Is the Right Estate Planning Technique for Me?

Whether you should look into a Will or a Revocable Living Trust depends on your personal goals, the assets that you own, and your personal and health issues. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for estate planning. Regardless of which you choose, you should know that these plans can be revoked or amended at any time, and you should revisit them every few years to make sure that your estate plans have not changed.

If you are seeking help regarding estate planning, our attorneys can help.

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