Difference Between Will & Revocable Living Trust


Lee Drizin: Hi everyone. This is Attorney Lee Drizin, and today I’d like to talk about the difference between a will and a revocable living trust. Clients often ask us whether or not their will has to go through the probate process and, unfortunately, it does.

Why Create a Will?

They’re surprised to hear that and their question is “Well, then why did I do a will in the first place?” The reason that you would execute a will is because it enables you to determine how you’re going to distribute assets upon death. For example, you may have three children and be estranged from one of them and decide not to include that child in the estate plan.

Alternatively, you may have three kids and one of them is doing phenomenal and the other two, not so much, and they need a little more assistance. Your goal is not to necessarily leave them equal distributions. Again, the will solves that problem.

However, the downside of the will is going through this probate administration process. It’s time-consuming and it’s costly. The question is whether there’s an alternative to be able to distribute my assets upon my passing and avoid going through probate? The answer is “yes” by using a revocable living trust.

Advantages of a Trust

It’s revocable, which means that it can be amended easily and it’s very flexible. As long as you have the capacity to execute an amendment, you can do so at any time.

The document is called a “living trust” because that refers to when you’re transferring assets into the trust. You’re going to do that during your lifetime.

That’s called the “funding process”, and it’s relatively straightforward and easy to do. Once those assets are transferred into the trust, you have complete control over them. They’re not encumbered. There’s no restrictions on their use, and quite frankly, you’ll probably forget the fact that they’re even in the trust.

Eventually, upon your passing, the assets will then be distributed according to the terms of that trust. The trust, in essence, is a will substitute. It avoids probate, minimizes the fees, and it’s a very efficient process and a great way of disposing of assets upon your passing. For more information about revocable living trusts, please visit our website at www.drizinlaw.com.