Is a Living Trust Better Than a Will?

As an estate planning and wealth preservation attorney, I am routinely confronted with the question … “is a living trust better than a Will?”

The answer is always the same.

“It depends.”

Estate planning is not a one size fits all approach and what is the correct planning strategy for one family, may not be right for another family. For some families, a Last Will and Testament may be the appropriate strategy, and yet for other families, a Living Trust may be the appropriate strategy.

A Last Will and Testament, typically, will assure the following:

  • Your wishes will be followed in the event of your death.
  • Your loved ones will receive their inheritance.
  • The person or persons you named as executor, will be in charge of settling your final affairs after your death.

For some families, this is all that they would want for their families after their death. However, a Last Will and Testament WILL NOT:

  • Avoid Probate
  • Keep Your Family’s Financial Affairs Private
  • Result in a Quick and Simple Estate Settlement Process
  • Protect Your Children’s Inheritance from Divorcing Spouses, Creditors, Lawsuits, and Other Predators
  • Ensure That Your Retirement Accounts Pass to Your Children in the Most Tax Efficient Manner Possible
  • Preserve the FULL Step in Tax Basis for Your Surviving Spouse

For some families this may not be important to them, and a Last Will and Testament may be all that they need.

However, for other families, this may be extremely important to them and they would want their loved ones to experience all of the above, and even more, if necessary.

There are many different types of Living Trusts and Living Trusts can be designed in a number of different ways. Living Trusts can be designed to ensure the following:

  • Avoid Probate
  • Keep Your Family’s Financial Affairs Private
  • Result in a Quick and Simple Estate Settlement Process
  • Limit Estate Settlement Costs and Attorney Fees
  • Protect Your Children’s Inheritance from Divorcing Spouses, Creditors, Lawsuits, and Other Predators
  • Ensure that Your Retirement Accounts Pass to Your Children in the Most Tax Efficient Manner Possible
  • Preserve the FULL Step Up in Tax Basis for Your Surviving Spouse
  • Asset Protection for Your Surviving Spouse
  • Ensure That Your Children Do Not Lose Their Inheritance As a Result of a Remarriage by a Surviving Spouse
  • Protect and Preserve Your Assets in the Event of Long Term Care Expenses
  • Protect and Preserve Your Income in the Event of Long Term Care Expenses
  • Protect Your Retirement Account for Your Children and Other Loved Ones From Their Creditors, Divorcing Spouses, Lawsuits, and Other Predators
  • Protect Your Estate and Ensure Access in the Event of Your Incapacity
  • Ensure Property Remains in Your Estate and the Family Bloodline for Multiple Generations

 

The above reasons could be many reasons why a family may prefer a living trust legal strategy as opposed to a last will and testament legal strategy. However, you will never know which strategy is appropriate for you and your family until you speak about your specific situation with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning and wealth preservation attorney.

If you have more questions about which strategy is better for you, a will or a trust, and how to plan your estate in a manner where you can truly leave a legacy for your family, please contact your Nashville, Tennessee Estate Planning Attorney, Dan Perry, by calling our office at (615) 472-2482 so that we can assist you and your family with developing the perfect estate planning strategy to assist you now and in the future.

Daniel A. Perry
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Focused on helping seniors, individuals with disabilities and small business owners make informed decisions.