Estate planning essentials: A will and a revocable living trust

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2024 | Estate Planning

A sound estate plan speaks to both your financial and family-related concerns. But how do you know what documents are right for your situation?

Two of the most basic yet crucial estate planning tools are a revocable living trust and a will. If you are just starting your estate plan, implementing these right away can offer immediate protection as you consider other documents you may need.

The role of a living trust

A living trust, or revocable trust, is a flexible estate planning tool you can modify throughout your lifetime. It allows you to manage your assets and have them distributed among designated beneficiaries without the need for probate.

Other benefits of a living trust include privacy, tax advantages and improved peace of mind.

The necessity of a will

Despite the advantages of a living trust, it does not replace the need for a will. A will is essential for several reasons:

  • It allows you to appoint an executor for your estate.
  • It lets you name guardians for minor children.
  • It acts as a safety net for assets not included in the trust.

Most estate plans include a living trust and a will because they complement each other. The living trust manages and transfers assets, while the will addresses unincluded property and allows you to make additional designations.

While a living trust offers many benefits, it does not eliminate the need for a will. If you’re unsure about how to proceed with your estate planning, legal guidance can help you understand the scope of your needs and create a plan that provides gapless protection.