DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WILLS AND LIVING TRUSTS

When it comes time for your estate planning, should you choose to draft a will or a living trust? Both of these documents may provide solid benefits for your family members and protection against probate disputes. However, each one of these options has separate advantages and drawbacks. At Luis E. Barreto & Associates, P.A., we have helped numerous Miami clients decide the option that is best for their situation.

Here are a few things you should know about wills and living trusts. According to AARP’s website, both documents are revocable during your lifetime, meaning you can make additions, deletions and other changes as you see fit. However, they will become irrevocable after your death. This does not mean that your family members will not be able to dispute the terms, but solidly prepared documents go a long way toward preventing confusion or disputes.

Wills are typically simpler than trusts, although they can still be complex depending on your estate. If your assets are few or your terms are not complex, then a will may be your best estate planning option. Typically, a will outlines where you would like your assets to go after your death. This means designating your personal items, money and property to your beneficiaries.

A living trust takes things a few steps further by allowing you to define how you want your property to be handled, both during your lifetime and after your death. For example, you can include instructions on what should happen if you are disabled and unable to continue managing the living trust (this means you should also appoint a trustee successor). You can delineate how you want the assets to be distributed to or spent on a minor child or disabled beneficiary with special needs. Living trusts are also good for estates with value that exceeds the estate tax threshold.

This is only a small portion of the information you would need to know before deciding on the best plan for your estate. For more information, please visit our page on estate planning.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.