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Living Trust vs. Will: What’s the Difference?

Living Trust vs. Will: What’s the Difference?


Should you draft a living trust or a will?

At a certain point in everyone’s life, it becomes necessary to plan for or at least consider your death and the effects it will have on those around you. Of course, no one enjoys thinking about such things, but nevertheless, drafting a living trust or a will is the best way to avoid expensive probate proceedings, ensure your pets are taken care of after you are gone and maintain control of your personal assets during your lifetime.

But, how do you know whether you should draft a living trust or a will? What are the differences between the two? Are there benefits and drawbacks to both or either? In this blog post, we’ll answer those questions for you.

Living Trusts

A living trust is created while you are still alive. This particular legal agreement gives a trustee of your choice legal ownership of a fund or belongings. In short, when you transfer your property into a trust, the trustee accepts legal ownership of that property.

Benefits of Living Trusts

Unlike wills, living trusts are not public record. This means your assets will be distributed privately in the event of your death. Additionally, a living trust does not go through the probate process, which means you’ll save money without all the additional court fees, and your heirs will receive their share of your assets more quickly.


A will is simply a legal document that specifies who should receive your possessions after you pass away. When you die, your will becomes public record and goes through the probate process before your assets are distributed to your named beneficiaries. This process may take months or even years.

Benefits of Wills

When compared to living trusts, hiring a lawyer to help you draft a will is not as expensive because it is a less complicated legal document. Additionally, wills do not require any transfer of property and can be revised at a later date if necessary. A will also gives you the ability to name property managers for children’s property if you wish to leave some of your belongings to a child or several children.

Although the main purpose of both a will and a living trust is to determine who will receive a particular share of your assets in the event of your death, there is one major difference: a living trust requires you to transfer that property into your trust, instead of just naming your beneficiaries and dividing up your assets between them.

If and when you decide to begin the estate planning process, it’s important to consider the differences between a living trust and a will. Unfortunately, many individuals fall into the trap of DIY estate planning with online will preparation tools that may or may not be valid regarding your state’s laws.

Instead of going the DIY route, we advise you to consider professional legal aid to assist you in drafting your estate planning documents. Hiring a lawyer will ensure your will or living trust is accurately prepared and properly executed in agreement with your state’s laws.

If you’re ready to begin drafting your living trust or will, contact Appleby Healy Attorneys at Law for assistance. Our friendly and experienced estate planning lawyers are happy to help you through the process, and we offer a free one-hour estate planning consultation to get you started. Call today to schedule yours.

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