There are key differences between wills and living trusts. For the 40% to 50% of people that don’t have wills, according to Legal Zoom, it can be difficult to understand the difference between living trusts and wills. Below are some differences that can help you decide which is best for you and your family.
Wills Are for After You Pass Away
With a will, your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass. With a living trust, your assets can be distributed while alive or after you die. Many wills are written with the help of family and a family lawyer and are important at any age, especially if you’re married with children.
A Living Trust May Avoid Probate
Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after they pass. If you have a will, your assets will go through probate, which can be costly and time-consuming. A living trust can help avoid probate because the assets in the trust bypass probate court. Unfortunately, many families that depend on inheritances are unaware of the probate process and how it can delay access to assets.
You May Need a Will if You Have Minor Children
If you have minor children, you’ll want to appoint a guardian in your will, which is the person who will care for your children if something happens to you. Without a will, the court will decide who will care for your children. Wills are important to prepare for an accident or other unexpected reasons for passing while your children are young. Many parents put off creating a will because they don’t want to think about passing, however, it’s one of the most important things you can do for your children.
A Living Trust May Help You Qualify for Medicaid
If you’re over the age of 65 or have a disability, you may need long-term care. This care can be expensive, so it’s helpful if you qualify for Medicaid. If you have a will, your assets may not be available to help you pay for long-term care. However, if you have a living trust, your assets can be used to help pay for long-term care without affecting your eligibility for Medicaid.
These are just some of the many differences between wills and living trusts. Speak to a family lawyer, like us at Ketlinski Law Office, for more information on which choice is best for you and how these legal documents can help you and your family prepare for end-of-life planning.