Living Trust Vs. A Will: What You Need to Know

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Knowing how to allocate your assets after you pass away can be difficult. However, it is important to exercise your right to control what happens to your estate after death. You probably want your assets (no matter the size) to be allocated to certain individuals in your life or to organizations or charities. A competent, capable attorney can guide you through an estate plan strategy that includes either a living trust or a will. Your personal circumstances will guide your way in making the best choice for you and your legacy.

What Is a Living Trust?

A living trust is a document drafted and put into effect while you are alive. It is a tool used to manage your assets before and after your death. You can transfer assets into the trust as you see fit, and at that time they become managed by your appointed trustee. While alive, you can serve as the trustee of your own living trust. At the time of your death, management will pass to your successor trustee. Assets will be transferred to beneficiaries as you have directed without having to flow through the court system. This keeps your private affairs out of the public eye and helps to avoid costly court proceedings.

What Is a Will?

A will is a much simpler document than a living trust. This document allows you to dictate what happens to your assets after you pass away. Your will should name your executor and your beneficiaries, give instruction on the allocation of your assets, and name guardians of any minor children you have. It is not effective until you die. With no will (or living trust for that matter), the state that you live in controls the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries following your state’s laws. Certain assets inherited through a will are subject to probate court proceedings. This makes a will a slightly less private document.

Choosing the right tool for managing your estate can be complicated. Attorney Kimberly K. Muenter is an experienced, trustworthy member of Elder Law. She offers the highest quality service when guiding Tampa, Florida residents through the intricacies of estate management before and after death.

Work with Attorney Muenter to decide whether a will or a living trust is right for you. She’ll review your estate and work to understand your needs so she can make the best recommendation possible and help you draft the most beneficial plan for your situation. Call 941.567.1671 to get started!