When it comes to your estate, your assets, and your dependents, you want to know for sure that your wishes will be met. In order to do this, it is important for you to hire an estate lawyer in Maryland who will work with you and help you create a living trust and/or will that will see to your needs now, and your family’s needs after you are gone. At JDKatz: Attorneys at Law, we work with you on an individual level, helping you understand the differences between your options and which choice may make the most sense for your situation. After we have discussed everything you want to include, we’ll draw up the documents and make the process as simple as possible.
The Difference Between Living Trusts* and Wills
It is important to know that even if you have a living trust, it can be beneficial for you to create a will. This is because any property or assets you do not place in the trust will be left up to the court to distribute, and in a living trust you can’t name an executor or guardians for your children or pets. However, both living trusts and wills are used to name beneficiaries for your assets, so it’s important to understand the difference and discuss your options with your estate lawyer. These differences include:
When Does It Take Effect?
- A living trust takes effect immediately, although it can be altered whenever you choose.
- A will only takes effect after you pass away.
What Does It Do?
- A living trust protects your assets and allows you to name beneficiaries for your property without the struggle of working with the court system or probate.
- A will allows you to provide specific instructions for your assets, your funeral, your dependents, and others, as well as provide guardians for your children and an executor for your will.
How Secure Is It?
- A living trust has the benefit of maintaining your privacy after your death. Because your assets are located in the trust, and the entire trust just passes down to your beneficiaries, there is generally no need for your successor trustees to deal with public records, courts, or probate.
- A will is a public document, and must be dealt with in the court system. Because of this, there may be disputes that arise, even if you have appointed an executor.
How Simple Is It?
A living trust is a more complex document, usually because it is a legal document that must cover the duties of the trustees, and it includes the transfer of property into the trust.
A will is more simple to create, but it requires two witnesses in addition to the creator of the will.
While you can print templates for wills online, it is often better for you to go through an estate attorney, who understands what needs to be explicit, what needs to be included, and how to file the right documents.
For more information on wills or living trusts, contact our estate lawyers today!
*In this blog, we are discussing only revocable living trusts. For more information about irrevocable trusts, contact our Bethesda or D.C. estate attorneys today.