While both revocable living trusts and wills allow individuals to name beneficiaries for their property or estate, they serve different purposes. As an estate-planning tool, a revocable living trust is a document that can be changed according to one’s wishes or circumstances while he/she is living. Yet, they are mostly used to avoid the need for the probate process, which occurs when a person’s estate is being finalized after they die. Thus, a living trust allows for a person’s property to be passed on to a designated person without going through a court-supervised process, given that the property was previously transferred into the trust. Even so, establishing a living trust can be complicated, and these documents cannot name an executor or appoint guardianship for children, as a will can.
While there’s great emphasis on avoiding the idea of probate with a revocable living trust, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone needs to avoid probate. For example, if an individual doesn’t own a lot of property or debts, it might not be necessary to formulate a living trust. On the other hand, when a person dies, a will becomes a public document, while a living trust does not. Thus, if a person wishes to keep their personal affairs private, even after their death, it is best to establish a living trust.
As mentioned above, in order for a property to be passed on to a beneficiary through a living trust, it must have been transferred into the trust. For the most part, this is simple, and includes making a list of the property and attaching it to the trust document, as noted by NOLO. Yet, with items containing titles such as real estate, it must be retitled in order to reflect that the owner of the property is the trust.
Another key difference in revocable living trusts and wills is that a living trust allows individuals to name a particular person to have authority over property if they become unable to do so. A will does not allow this, though a durable power of attorney may be named to oversee one’s finances.
When you have questions about what you need, a living trust or a will, the general rule is that most people need a will, while not everyone will need a living trust. Important considerations are one’s age, wealth and marital status, as they play a key role in determining if a living trust is beneficial.
Lawyer Robert Turner of Turner Law provides expertise concerning revocable living trusts and wills in Georgia, helping clients make informed decisions about the future of their estate and property. To speak with Mr. Turner in a confidential consultation, contact his law office in historic downtown Decatur, GA today.
Posted on the behalf of Turner Law, LLC