Deciding how to protect your estate and assets can be a complicated choice, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. However, you are probably familiar with at least two steps of the estate planning process: a living trust and a will.
Choosing between them, however, can be even more confusing.
That’s why attorney Kevin Kenney and his legal team are here to help. They know that estate planning can be frustrating, so they aim to make it as stress-free and efficient as possible. Often, that starts with determining exactly which is better for a client: a living trust or a will.
To get your personalized answer, please call attorney Kevin Kenney at 913-671-8008 or schedule an initial consultation online. In the meantime, you can learn a bit more about each option below, but remember: This information is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
What is the Difference Between a Will and a Living Trust?
If you want to learn about the difference between a will and trust, you must first keep in mind one important fact: Just like there are many different kinds of legal wills, there are many different kinds of legal trusts. Here, we’ll discuss the difference between a will and a living trust. If you’re interested in learning about the difference between a living will and living trust, a revocable living will and trust, and more, you’d be best served contacting your local wills and estates attorney.
In the most simple terms, the difference between a will and living trust is this: A will is a legal document that outlines how an estate is handled after a person dies, while a trust allows a person to transfer ownership while they are still alive. The terms of a will typically don’t go into effect until after a person’s death, but the terms of a living trust can go into effect as early as the grantor wants them to.
Both wills and trusts can be changed while a grantor is alive. But, with a will, assets must pass through probate court before they can be divided to beneficiaries. Assets in a trust, on the other hand, can pass directly to beneficiaries once the conditions are met. And this doesn’t just mean death; a trust can set requirements for the beneficiary such as age, employment status and more.
A trust typically offers more control over an estate’s assets than a will, but it can be more complicated and expensive to put together. Remember that one size does not fit all when it comes to estate planning: The only way you can decide between a living will and trust is by speaking with a local estates attorney. They can evaluate your situation to determine which document is best for your needs.
Do I Need a Will or a Living Trust?
Knowing that wills and trusts are two separate legal documents playing separate (but equally important) legal roles, prospective clients often ask: “Can you have both a will and a living trust?”
The answer is yes. In fact, many estate planning attorneys will recommend this choice to those who want the best protection for their estate’s assets — both before and after their death.
As mentioned above, the difference between a will and a living trust is great. But, that doesn’t mean you have to choose one or the other. Attorney Kevin Kenney is among those who frequently complete both of these legal processes at the same time. What a will doesn’t cover, a trust can — and vice versa. Working together, the two documents can provide a security for your estate you won’t otherwise receive.
While a will names the beneficiaries of your estate (just like a trust does), only a trust ensures that those assets are divided among your beneficiaries without the extra steps of probate. A trust adds a degree of privacy to your estate’s assets and protects your estate from court challenges.
Ultimately, the decision of a living trust versus a will in your estate planning process will be made by you and your legal representation. It’s a good idea for anyone considering estate planning to contact an appropriate wills and estates attorney to get the proper legal advice for your situation.
How to Do a Living Will and Trust in Kansas City
Before you decide that either a will or living trust is the best solution for you, we encourage you to contact attorney Kevin Kenney and his legal team. That way, they can confirm that your estate plans are suitable for your needs and preferences — and can help you get started whenever you are ready.
When you contact attorney Kevin Kenney, he will:
- Discuss your personal estate and assets and identify your estate planning needs and preferences
- Identify whether a will or living trust would be best for you
- Suggest additional estate planning services, such as:
- Draft and finalize your trust or will documents
- Update your legal documents in light of any life updates (births, deaths, marriages, etc.)
Estate planning doesn’t have to be confusing. With attorney Kevin Kenney’s help, you can rest assured that your estate and assets are protected today and in the future — just in case.
Get started today by calling 913-671-8008 or scheduling an initial consult online.