Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

What are the advantages of a revocable trust vs. a last will?

Revocable living trusts and last wills are two commonly used estate planning tools.  Wills and trusts both have their place in estate planning, but revocable living trusts offer some benefits that a last will and testament cannot. Your ideal estate plan will depend on your goals and assets.  Our New York estate planning lawyers discuss the benefits of revocable living trusts below.

Avoiding Probate

Your last will and testament will set out your wishes concerning the distribution of your property after your death.  Upon your death, your will must be deposited with the appropriate court in your area and probate will then be initiated.  New York offers several options for probate depending on the size of your estate.

Probate comes with several major drawbacks.  Probate, no matter the size of your estate, will come with costs.  For larger estates, these costs can be quite substantial.  Further, probate will often take several months to potentially over a year to complete.  Your heirs may suffer financially during this time frame. Lastly, probate is a public process.  Probate records can be accessed by the public, leaving you without the privacy your family may desire.

A revocable living trust allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust during your lifetime.  You will continue to manage the trust assets and can change or undo the trust at any time.  Your assets placed within the trust will not need to go through probate, saving your heirs money and time.  Further, the trust will remain completely private.

In addition to allowing your assets to avoid probate, a trust provides you with more control over the distribution of your assets.  While assets passed down through a will become the property of the named beneficiary upon the completion of probate, a trust allows you to stagger distributions according to the age of your children.  You can even specify what portion of funds should go specifically towards educational expenses.

Those with a revocable living trust may still need a will to account for assets not transferred to the trust and to name a guardian for your minor child.  Your estate planning attorney can review with you the many options you have for creating a comprehensive estate plan.  Protect your hard earned assets and your heirs by getting started with your estate plan today.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.