Living Trust Vs Will Based Estate Plan In Arizona
The names really say it all, at least on the surface. A “will-based” plan is, of course, based on a Will. And a “trust-based” plan revolves around a trust. No surprises there, right? But when it comes time to develop or update your estate plan, do you know which one is right for you?
The Will Based Plan
Wills are legal documents that allow the testator, the person who signs the Will, to say how their property will be disposed of after death. People also name executors or personal representatives in their Wills. In addition, if the testator typically states who will serve as guardian for his or her children.
The Trust Based Plan
Some people’s estate plans include a Will and a living trust. The trust holds title to most, if not all, of the testator’s assets. Often a pour-over Will is used along with the living trust so any assets not transferred by the testator will be transferred upon his or her death.
Which One Is Better?
That completely depends on your circumstances.
- Distribution of Estate Assets. A will-based plan distributes the deceased person’s estate assets to beneficiaries through probate. Typically, though, a trust-based plan provides an easier, more cost effective way to transfer estate assets to heirs, in part by avoiding probate.
- Maintaining Privacy. A Will that goes through probate becomes part of the public record. Anyone can see the Will by accessing the court records. Trusts do not become part of the public court records, preserving the parties’ privacy.
- Asset Protection. Wills distribute assets, but do not protect them. Trust provide various levels of asset protection, depending on the type of trust used. For example,
- Costs. Trust-based plans usually cost more than the typical Will-based plan. However, since the estate assets usually don’t pass through probate, there will be little or no probate expense.
Still Have Questions?
When you consult with your estate planning attorney, ask about trust-based and will-based plans.
The attorneys at the Keystone Law Firm assist clients with legal questions like yours all the time. Call us at (480) 418-8448 to set up an appointment. We offer services for clients throughout Arizona, including Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Apache Junction.