Revocable Living Trust and Will? Or Trust only?

Do I need both? Is there any advantage to having both?

If the choices are “trust plus will” or “trust only,” then you want “trust plus will.” Whether you need a trust is an open question, and the answer would depend on personal circumstances you didn’t and should provide here. But if you’re setting up a trust, it would be legal malpractice for your attorney to not also recommend a will.

Read up on the term “pour-over will” if you want to understand how the two work together.

Another debate on this topic. I have only a Trust and obviously in the minority here, but my Trust covers everything.

What would a will offer that my Trust does not?

Great feedback, I will take your advice, thank you!

A will transfers the stuff you own that is not in your trust to your trust when you die… It would be a pain to have all that stuff owned by the trust… like cars, personal property etc. Maybe it depends on the state in which you live.

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Everything is in my Trust. He did not itemize stuff but has blanket language, “…everything in the house, garage, and on the property at…”

Or words something like that

Not all that many folks with a trust are as diligent as you. In fact, many are not at all diligent and die having not transferred and/or titled assets to their trust. Sometimes, one’s personal situation changes but the trust is not revised. The pour over will does that for someone who dies with property not in the will and transfers that property to the trust. Unfortunately for those in CA and other states unfriendly to estates, a pour over will has to be probated, although the trust is outside of probate.

Years ago, average cost of probate in Cal was $13,500. No doubt higher now

Interesting… but it’s a tad nebulous for me. I prefer something more specific. For instance, if you have a car, collectables, jewelry or personal items you want a particular person to receive, how do you do that if everything is thrown in one bucket? How would your representative carry out those specific wishes?

It would cost money to make constant changes to your trust to accomplish those types of things. With a transfer will all you need is a gift list that you can update on our own as things change.

Good points, but I’ve covered them. As noted earlier, I am probably in the minority on this issue. Wife passed 14 years ago, and long time friend RE Broker suggested a Trust to ensure my heirs get the house immediately. I live near downtown in a high crime area, and she said probate would leave the house empty for months, and become a easy target for vandalism and/or “illegal occupation” .

Lawyer suggested this “blanket Trust” which is now 13 years old and I’ve never changed a word. I’ve already distributed wife’s things and considerable other stuff to nieces, nephews, etc.

My method certainly does not fit all, but when the topic of “Trust or will” survaces [again] I want to warn people about the potential disaster of having only a will, at least in probate wild west Cal.

In your situation it appears your trust alone is a good solution.

Depends on where you live. When my brother died without a will or trust, the probate court retitled his house (2 weeks after his death) to the names of the heirs so that the heirs, not the administrators, could sell independently of the probate process.

Reasons houses sit empty vary – could be the executor/administrator/attorney hasn’t dealt with it yet, maybe heirs are trying to decide if they want to buy it, or in my case, it was a fixer upper. People tend to blame the probate process for delays when many times it’s not their fault.

I’m sure the OP can find a few attorneys who would advise him to get a will in addition to the trust.

Absolutely…! That’s why I always mention Cal.

" In some cases, the probate process in California can take as little as nine months, but that is rare. It typically takes anywhere from half a year to eighteen months, and complicated cases may take as long as two years or more.May 14, 2022",as%20two%20years%20or%20more.

Does one actually need a trust in the first place? If all accounts, life insurance etc have a beneficiary it goes to that person no matter what a will or trust states. As for the house do a simple life estate and it transfers to those named at a stepped value. A will is always a good idea.

If you have a net worth of $2M or more, you probably need a trust.

Whether this or a transfer on death deed are appropriate depends on state laws.

Also, if you want some control over how and when your heirs receive their inheritance, a trust can give you that control. Examples: young adults you view as not yet mature enough to make adult decisions, ensuring that education is paid vs expensive toys or partying; financial care for your minor dependants; complicated estates; expensive probate costs in some states.

Let me tell you my experience. Both my father and father had Living Trusts.

They created far more problem settling that if they had a will. There were all sorts of extra forms to fill out at the brokerages. The worst part is my mother titled her house in the Trust. It was a nightmare to get it out and deed it to me.

Putting an estate through probate is no big deal in Georgia. Can’t speak for other states. Forming a Trust to avoid probate is overly complicated and expensive. I curse the day my parents hooked up to the attorney peddling those.