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What is the Advantage of a Trust Over a Will?

Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question: "What is the Advantage of a Trust Over a Will?"

In this informative video, we discuss the key benefits of using a trust instead of a will to manage your assets and protect your loved ones. From avoiding probate and protecting your privacy, to providing more flexibility and control over your assets, we explain why a trust is often the better choice. Watch to learn more and make an informed decision about your estate planning.

Want to know what type of estate planning documents are best for your situation? Download a free copy of my easy estate planning guide. Obtain Your Free Will vs. Trust Estate Planning Guide here.

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Hello, I'm Attorney Thomas Burton. I'm an Estate Planning and Asset Protection Attorney here in Wisconsin and today's question is the following:

"What is the advantage of a trust over a will?"

This is a great question and one I hear frequently, clients discussing whether they need a trust or a will when considering their estate plan.

Let's talk about the three big benefits that come to mind.

The first advantage of a trust over a will is that a trust is set up to avoid probate. Probate is the court-administered process that your state must go through after death if you use a will plan as the main vehicle to distribute assets and what the probate court does is it takes, improves the will, and then distributes the assets according to the will as you have laid out there. The probate court would supervise this entire process, for example, the sale of your home and the distribution of assets and it requires a lot of paperwork and notification of heirs. It generally takes six to twelve months to two years, in the state of Wisconsin.

With the trust administration, there is no waiting period because it's a private administration and it can be done by the trustee you name, without court supervision. There are also no court fees and generally fewer lawyer fees because most people tend to hire an attorney to help them with probate whereas, in a trust administration, they may hire an attorney for a little bit or perhaps not at all, depending on their level and comfortable knowledge administering the trust themselves.

The second advantage of a trust over a will is it gives you more control over the distribution of your assets than a will. Generally, with a will, you can hold assets for a minor until age 18 or in Wisconsin, the maximum would be 21 but then you would name a guardian and while they're minors, the court would be involved with supervising that guardian managing the money for the miners. If you use a trust, you can name a trustee and there would be less court involvement, if you left that money for the miners, the trustee could make all those spending decisions for the miners and you can even use a trust to hold the money longer than age 21, for example, a lot of my clients will choose to leave the money a little later in life like maybe 25 or 28 or one half at 25 and one half at 30, to allow them to get through college or get a higher education started. The trustee can use that money to pay for expenses of higher education, rent, and things like that just like you would if you were around but it allows a longer time period that the finances are under the management and control of someone usually more financially sophisticated, the trustee you can even create a lifetime trust for your beneficiaries which can provide creditor protection. That's another advantage of trust.

Okay, third, unlike a will the terms of a trust are private during life and they remain private after death. Probate proceedings and court proceedings are public records, meaning anyone can read the terms of your will and what happens with the court administration after you're gone but because a trust falls under contract law, a trust is a private administration and there's no requirement to file the trust with the probate court. Again, it avoids those court filing fees and administration fees and it doesn't become public after your death and it keeps the nature of your property private, including the names of your beneficiaries.

That's why a trust when properly funded is often an easier, faster, and more efficient way to administer your estate after you're gone and get your assets to your beneficiaries as you intended.

Great question about the advantages of trust over a will. There are even more advantages than the three we covered here but those are the big three to think about when you're considering whether a will or a trust is right for you and your family.

Thanks for watching, thanks for tuning in and we'll see you next time.

© 2023 Burton Law LLC. All Rights Reserved. Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired. For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact the office.

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