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Revocable Living Trusts: The Benefits Over a Standard Will 

DeChello Law Firm LLC Aug. 29, 2022

Old Man signing trust documentThere are many things you need to do during your lifetime. One of them is protecting your legacy and ensuring that your assets pass to the intended beneficiaries. However, estate planning can be confusing, especially if you do not understand which tools to use. 

Revocable living trusts and standard wills are some of the most commonly used estate planning tools, but what is the difference between the two? Is a revocable living trust better than a standard will, or vice versa? 

Consider contacting a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to evaluate your situation and create a plan tailored to your specific goals, needs, and circumstances. At DeChello Law Firm LLC, we help individuals and families through the estate planning process in North Haven, Connecticut, and throughout New Haven County. 

What Is a Revocable Living Trust? 

A revocable living trust is a common estate planning tool that allows you to control how your property is handled during your lifetime and after your passing. It’s a written document that specifies what would happen to your assets after your death. 

As the trustor (the person who creates a revocable living trust), you can continue to manage your assets during your lifetime. You can establish a trust for any assets you want, including (but not limited to) real estate, bank accounts, and valuable possessions. 

This type of living trust is called “revocable” because it allows the trustor to change provisions of the trust or revoke it at any time. 

How Do Revocable Living Trusts

Differ From Standard Wills? 

People who want to secure their assets with an estate plan may not understand the differences between a revocable living trust and a standard will. While revocable living trusts have a lot in common with wills, there are several key differences between these two estate planning tools: 

  1. When it takes effect. When you write a standard will, it will not take effect immediately. A will does not become effective until after your death. A revocable living trust, on the other hand, becomes effective upon signing the document. 

  1. The assets used/protected. Typically, people create trusts to protect high-value assets, including (but not limited to) real property, stocks, and business interests. A will, on the other hand, is created to protect all types of assets, regardless of value. 

  1. Control over asset distribution. A revocable living trust offers greater control over asset distribution. You can leave detailed instructions for who, when, and how your assets would be distributed. With a will, your assets will be distributed to the selected beneficiaries upon your death. 

  1. Probate. Contrary to popular belief, wills must pass through probate before they are distributed to the beneficiaries. The assets in a revocable living trust, on the other hand, will be passed along outside of probate because you are technically no longer the owner of those assets. 

  1. Revoke or change. Typically, it is easier to revoke or change a revocable living trust than a standard will. 

Both a revocable living trust and a will can be valuable tools in your estate plan. Consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney to assist you with your estate planning needs. 

Is a Revocable Living Trust Better

Then a Standard Will? 

While a revocable living trust is different from a standard will, it does not mean that one is “better” than the other or that you need to choose between the two. You can have both as part of your estate plan. A revocable living trust and a standard will can complement one another. 

When creating an estate plan, you need to understand your goals and needs. Often, a consultation with a skilled attorney may be necessary to determine which tools you need to create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your specific situation. 

Creating a Revocable Living Trust 

Setting up a revocable living trust may seem like a straightforward process, but it isn’t. In many cases, individuals and families need to seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney to help them create an enforceable and legally-binding document. Creating a revocable living trust begins with preparing a written document that: 

  • Names you as the trustor and another person(s) as the trustee(s) 

  • Names your beneficiaries (individuals or institutions for whom the trust is created) 

  • Specifies the assets that will be used to fund the trust 

Once you have the trust document prepared, sign it in front of a notary. Connecticut law does not require your signature to be notarized to make a trust legally binding unless the trust deals with real property. However, signing a trust document in front of a notary is good practice to avoid possible claims of undue influence, fraud, or incompetency. 

Seek legal guidance from a skilled estate planning attorney to help you prepare the necessary paperwork and guide you through the process of setting up a revocable living trust in Connecticut. 

Experienced Guidance You Can Trust 

Revocable living trusts and wills are useful estate planning tools that can accomplish different goals. If you cannot decide which tool will work better in your specific case, get a consultation from an experienced attorney. At DeChello Law Firm LLC, we create estate planning solutions tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of our clients. Get the legal guidance you can trust by reaching out to our office in North Haven, Connecticut.