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Living Will & Trust

Starting at $105

Living wills and trusts are both important estate planning documents, but they serve different purposes:

Living Will

A living will, also known as a healthcare directive, is a legal document that outlines your wishes for medical care in case you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. It allows you to specify things like:

  • Whether you want to be resuscitated if your heart stops

  • Whether you want to be placed on life support

  • The kind of pain medication you want to receive.

Living Trust

A living trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets (like property, investments, etc.) to a trust. You, as the grantor, can still control and benefit from the assets during your lifetime. You then designate a trustee to manage the assets according to your wishes in the trust document. Here are some key features of a living trust:

  • Avoids probate: Assets held in a living trust typically avoid probate, a court process that oversees the distribution of an estate after death. Probate can be time-consuming and expensive.

  • Provides for incapacity: If you become incapacitated, the designated successor trustee can manage the trust's assets for your benefit.

  • Privacy: Living trusts are generally private documents, unlike wills, which become public records during probate.

Living Will vs. Living Trust

In short:

  • A living will deal with your healthcare wishes in case of incapacity.

  • A living trust deals with the ownership and management of your assets during your lifetime and after your death.

Do you need both?

It depends on your individual circumstances. Here's a general guideline:

  • A living will is a good idea for most adults, regardless of their assets.

  • A living trust can be beneficial if you have a complex estate, you want to avoid probate, or you need someone to manage your assets if you become incapacitated.

  • Witnesses may be needed for the signing. Review the documents.

  • Multiple notary acts may be needed during the signing process. Count the number of stamps needed.

I recommend consulting with an estate planning attorney to determine which documents are right for you.

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