I Need a Revocable Trust … Right?

/ August 5, 2013

Purchased on iStockThis statement (turned inquiry) may or may not be true.  It depends on a variety of factors and client goals.  Deciding whether to use a will or a revocable trust (a.k.a. living trust or revocable living trust) as one’s primary estate planning document is a question to be discussed with an estate planning attorney.  The attorney can aid in assessing the specific circumstances and providing the advantages and disadvantages of a will and a revocable trust.

Here are a few factors to consider when making the determination:

  1. What type of assets does an individual or couple own?  How are these assets owned (jointly or individually)?  What are the clients thoughts regarding probate?
  2. Is privacy and confidentiality a concern for the decedent or the beneficiaries?
  3. Is there a desire to maintain as much simplicity as possible in the estate plan?  Are the clients estate planning goals complex?
  4. Are there any anticipated family conflicts?  Does the client anticipate anyone contesting the estate plan?
  5. Are there health concerns for the person creating the estate plan, including any incapacity issues down the road?

No one factor is more important than another.  Instead, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of a will versus a revocable trust given the specific circumstances and goals of each individual client and the factors identified above.

Over the course of my next several posts, I will address each of the factors listed above.  Please check back for more.

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