Estate Planning: Revocable Living Trusts vs. Wills - Part Two

How is a Living Trust different than a Will?

A Will is a death instrument, and is practically speaking, a set of instructions that is provided to the probate court.

A Living Trust on the other hand provides for distribution of assets upon the creator’s death, but also in the event of incapacity, which avoids the need for the appointment of a Conservator of the Estate if a person becomes incapacitated to such an extent that they can no longer manage their own financial decisions.

One of the biggest practical differences between the two is the necessity of probate to administer the Will, whereas the Living Trust can be administered without opening a standard full probate in Connecticut. [NOTE: This does not mean that there will be no interaction with the probate court, as an estate tax return may need to be filed, and the pour-over will may need to be filed for notice purposes to the Court only].

A full-scale review of the probate process is outside the scope of this blog, but in short, you should be aware that the time associated with a full probate, and the attorney’s fees associated are what often concerns those who individuals who wish to avoid it.

A full probate in the State of Connecticut can often take 12 months or longer. During this time, attorney’s fees can be substantial depending on how much work is required, which depends largely on the circumstances.

Additionally, a full probate is not a private proceeding. Many people are not comfortable with everyone in their family having the ability to know exactly who is getting what, and giving those family members a forum to air their grievances.

If you or anyone you know has any other questions regarding Living Trusts or Wills, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to be a resource to you. We can be reached at (203) 651-5521. If you want to learn more about the Firm before contacting us, visit our website by clicking here.