Whos is better for married couples, a living will or a trust?

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Whos is better for married couples, a living will or a trust?

I need info on which is better, a living will or trust ?

Asked on June 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Apples and oranges. 
A will leaves you owning your property/assets until you pass away; then they are distributed to your heirs, as per the will. Nothing happens to your assets while you live, and you retain 100% control over them.
A trust set up while you are alive takes the ownership of the property away from you and puts it into the trust, which is it's own legal "person." Those assets can be given or paid or invested however you indicate in the instructions in the documents creating the trust, but are to a greater or lesser extent outside your control (depending on whether you did a revocable or irrevocable trust). You can use a trust to avoid certain taxes or insulate assets from your own debts, but as stated, give up ownership and direct control--the assets belong to the trust and are controlled by the trustee under the instructions in the trust documents.
For most people, a will is all they need--it's simpler, more straightforward, and avoisd losing any control over your assets.
If you have A LOT of assets and anticipate you may run afoul of federal or state estate or inheritance taxes, or  want to exercise control over the assets even after you pass away (since the trustee will continue to pay them out as per the instructions you set up, rather than just turning them over to the beneficiares), a trust may be a good option; or if you anticipate the possibility of substantial debts or obligations, and want to protect certain assets from them.
Speak to an estate planning attorney about your situation, needs, plans, etc.--let the lawyer guide you in what you need.


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