Living trust vs will header

The Differences Between

Living Trusts & Wills

Last Will Living Trust
Date document takes effect Upon the deceased's passing Date living trust is signed
Appoint agent(s) to act during an incapacitation No Yes
Appoint guardians for dependent children Yes No
Control when beneficiaries receive assets No - unless a testamentary trust is created Yes
Allow use of assets (such as a home) by someone after deceased has passed before ultimately being distributed to other beneficiaries No - unless a testamentary trust is created Yes
Provisions for pets No - unless a testamentary trust is created Yes
Help assets avoid probate No Yes
Reduce estate taxes No Potentially
Privacy of estate No Yes - depending on state deceased lived in
Ease of contesting Easy Difficult
Typical cost to create ~$50 - $1,500 ~$300 - $5,000
Typical cost to maintain (excluding amendments) $0 $0, aside from vehicle and deed titling fees
Which Is Best

For You?

There are many factors which could shape the direction you take, including but not limited to:

  • What state you live in (probate and estate taxes)

  • The value of your estate

  • The type of assets you own

  • The ages and needs of your beneficiaries

  • The likelihood of your estate being contested

  • Your trust in potential nominees to manage your estate without court oversight

  • How diligent you will remain regarding placing assets in your trust


Living trust will kit

The Estate Director

Even if you have a will or living trust in place, how prepared is your estate for someone to step in and act quickly? Read powerful testimonials for these useful planning tools which can save time and money for a spouse, your executors, trustees, agents acting under powers of attorney and guardians for your children.

"I was an accountant and business manager for over 20 years. I have personally lost two close friends who were attorneys and clients of mine. As I began to work in settling their estates, I was amazed at the amount of information I didn't know and needed. And I hated every call to loved ones to gather that information... continue." - Jerilyn, Retired Accountant

Estate planning guide download


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