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The Differences Between a Last Will and a Living Trust

A last will and a living trust are two common tools for estate planning. A will and a revocable living trust both allow someone to name beneficiaries for his or her estate although they serve different purposes. Here’s what you should know about the primary differences between these two legal documents, presented by Annapolis Home Care Assistance.

What Is a Last Will?

A will is a document that can be used to indicate how property should be distributed at death. A will is a revocable document, and it can be changed at any time. A will can be used to:

  • Appoint a guardian for minor children
  • Name beneficiaries for property
  • Name managers for children’s property
  • Name an executor
  • Indicate how debts and taxes should be paid

What Is a Living Trust?

Someone who makes a living trust can choose to serve as his or her own trustee and create a successor when they die. If the person who creates the trust is disabled, the successor can manage any trust property to avoid the expense and inconvenience of a court supervising the distribution of property.

Like a will, a living trust can be used to name beneficiaries for property. It can also be used to avoid costly probate, control what happens to property after death, and plan for disability and illness. Property left to beneficiaries through a living trust will not pass through probate, unlike a will. Probate is a court system that can be expensive and take months. A spouse, partner, child, or any other trusted person can also be given authority over the trust if the creator becomes incapacitated or disabled and unable to manage his or her affairs. This cannot be done with a will.

The downside is a living trust costs more to create and it must be actively managed. It must also be funded to be useful. Funding a trust involves transferring personal assets from the creator to the trust.

While helping your senior loved one plan for the future, consider broaching the topic of in-home care. Although your loved one may not need part-time or live-in care in Annapolis at present, understanding the options for just-in-case scenarios can prevent confusion and frustration down the line.

To learn more, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer a wide range of care services, including stroke, Alzheimer’s and dementia home care in Annapolis, and our caregivers are expertly trained to help seniors with everything from personal grooming to light housekeeping. Give us a call at 443-302-2771 and request an in-home consultation today.