Should you plan with a will or a trust?  Here are a dozen questions and answers to help you choose between a will or a trust.  (This assumes that both are properly drafted and the trust is properly funded)

 

Question:  What does a will or trust do?

Will–Used to put your estate through probate; states your choice for who gets your property and who manages your estate after your death

Trust–Holds title to the property you place in the trust both while you are living and after your death

Question:   When is a will or trust effective?

Will— After your death and after it is admitted into probate

Trust— Immediately after signing

Question:   What if I need planning for a disabled child?

Will— Can have a trust established through the will after it goes through probate

Trust— Typically included

Question:   What if I need planning for minor children?

Will— Can have a trust established through the will after it goes through probate

Trust— Typically included

Question:   How easy is it to put a will or trust into place?

Will— Once the document is prepared and signed you are finished

Trust— Requires “funding” your property into the trust after signing

Question:   After death, how long does it take to settle everything with a will or trust?

Will— No one will have authority for at least a month (maybe several months) until an executor is appointed

Trust— Can be settled as soon as the death certificate is issued; successor trustee has immediate authority

Question:   What about long term care or medicaid planning?

Will— None for single persons, can have language for a spouse applying for medicaid

Trust— None

Question:   Does a will or trust avoid guardianship?

Will–No

Trust— Can avoid guardianship of the estate

Question:   Is a will or trust visible by others/the public?

Will— Yes through the County Clerk’s office/website once filed for probate

Trust–No

Question:   How much does a will or trust cost?

Will— Very affordable for the will, the cost of probate depends

Trust— Can cost 3 times the cost of a will; no probate cost

Question:   How difficult is it to make changes to a will or trust?

Will--You will need new documents

Trust— Can be amended

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