Estate planning lawyers are always trying to impress upon their clients the need to have a complete estate plan. People who use do-it-yourself estate planning often fall victim to some popular misconceptions, such as the idea that they only need one document or another.
For example, some people know that they can make their own will or living trust, but instead of making both they choose one instead of the other. While creating any estate planning document is a good idea, creating them in a vacuum isn’t.
The truth is almost everyone can benefit by creating both a living trust and a last will and testament. Here’s why.
A living trust, also called a revocable living trust or an inter vivos trust, is like a company. When you create it you can transfer your property to the trust and direct how the trust transfers your property to new owners after you die. Because the trust is a separate entity, your property will not have to go through probate after you die, thus saving your family time and money.
Last Will and Testament
While you can also create a will to direct how your property passes after you die, any property that passes in accordance with the will has to go through probate. However, wills can also be used to appoint executors, guardians for minor children, and perform other tasks that trusts cannot.
In any situation, creating both of these documents is very important. Additionally, there are other estate planning tools that you will also likely need to include, which is why it’s always best to speak to an estate planning lawyer before attempting to create any of these legal documents on your own.