Which Do I Need — A Will or a Living Trust?
The short answer is both, because each document serves a different purpose. Though we'd rather not dwell on the fact that death is inescapable, there is great peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order. Every person, regardless of age, should be proactive and make plans for the future disposition of assets.
A last will and testament is the traditional option for giving away your assets when you die. Depending on the complexity of your estate and what you intend to do with it, wills can be less expensive to prepare up front than a living trust, but more expensive to administer after your death.
A living trust, also known as an inter vivos trust, can augment a will by transferring property during your lifetime, thereby avoiding the probate process, while you still maintain the use and enjoyment of the property until your death. Living trusts pertain to certain property, such as real estate, and should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed.
Unlike a living trust, your will encompasses all of the property you still own at the time of your death, regardless of whether you name each item in your will. That's why wills usually direct the disposition of the “rest, residue and remainder,” i.e., any property not otherwise specifically bequeathed to an heir in the will.
Living trusts tend to require more work and, thus, higher legal expenses up front, but the expense may be recouped in the long run because whatever property is conveyed in the living trust is not included in your estate for probate purposes at the time of your death. In other words, using a living trust to minimize assets to be passed later through the will can minimize the expense of the probate process.
Contact an experienced Bryan-College Station, Texas estate planning attorney to discuss your needs and help you decide whether you should consider a living trust in addition to your will as part of your comprehensive estate plan. The Peterson Law Group is committed to finding solutions for our clients. Call us today to schedule a consultation at 979-703-7014 or fill out our online contact form.