No matter what you do, aging is something you cannot escape, and it affects all…
Our experienced Fairfield estate planning attorneys at Faloni Law Group, LLC know you are concerned about how your affairs will be handled after death.
There are many different ways in which you can transfer your assets. You can conduct a private sale, you can leave them to designated loved ones after you die through the use of a last will and testament, and you can establish a living trust to hold your assets for your benefit until you pass away, after which they will be moved according to the trust instrument. For this article, we will be focusing on five aspects of transferring assets by the use of either a living trust or a last will and testament.
What is a living trust or will?
A living trust is an entity you can create to take ownership of your assets in your stead. Essentially a living trust is a sort of legal holding instrument you can use to divest yourself of ownership of your assets while retaining both the control of the assets and the benefits derived from the assets. A living trust lets you benefit from your belongings without actually owning them.
Most people are more familiar with the last will and testament method of transferring assets after death. A last will and testament differs significantly from a living trust and we will be comparing the two through out this article.
A Trust or a Will?
Living trusts are most often used as an alternative to writing a last will and testament, most often when the estate in question is particularly complex. A living trust allows the person forming the trust to decide before they die how their assets will be divided and transferred. A living trust is more complicated and more expensive to establish than the writing of a simple last will and testament, but it gives the creator more control over their property.
If you have a simple succession or a relatively small number of assets you intend on leaving behind you, a last will and trust may be the better path to take.
What are the advantages of a living trust?
Transferring assets into a living trust can give you more control over your estate before you die. It can also open you up to certain legal and tax benefits not available to a person planning to dispose of their estate through a traditional last will and testament. If this is the case, the living trust can be a far more beneficial tool than a simple last will and testament.
Last wills and testaments are to some degree public and must be handled by Courts and court personnel, a living trust allows your assets to be moved quietly and privately according to a predetermined method that cannot be altered after the fact. This gives the person using a living trust significantly more privacy and control than a will or testament. Unfortunately, a person’s passing may cause significant legal disagreements among would-be-heirs and a living trust allows the creator more control in ensuring no such squabbling will occur after they die.
More Immediate Control
Unfortunately one of the best benefits of a living trust is the immediate control it gives a trustee should you become unexpectedly ill. Unlike a will that has no provisions for what to do with your assets should you become so incapacitated as to be unable to manage your affairs, a living trust can ensure your estate is properly managed if you are incapacitated. Unlike a will, a living trust goes into effect almost immediately and a properly drafted trust agreement will provide for the disposition or maintenance of assets while you are indisposed.
Both living trusts and last wills and testaments offer advantages and disadvantages and one should always speak to a licensed attorney to better understand which option would be most effective for them. If you’re interested in transferring assets via last will and testament, or establishing a living trust, speak to our trusted Fairfield estate planning attorneys at Faloni Law Group, LLC today.