A Will or A Revocable Living Trust

Wills

  • Distribute assets upon death but are irrelevant upon incapacity
  • Must be administered by the court through the probate process, a public proceeding lasting at least six months during which time your assets may be frozen

Revocable Living Trusts

  • Control management and use of assets whether you are healthy, incapacitated, or upon death
  • Transition of asset management to successor trustees upon incapacity or death is handled privately and without court intervention
  • Distribution of assets to heirs is done privately and without any court-imposed waiting period
  • Can also be used to minimize or eliminate estate taxes upon your death, and to safeguard your assets from your loved ones’ financial immaturity, their creditors and judgment debtors, and even their potential future divorces.

How They Stack Up: The Side-by-Side Comparison

PRIVACY

Wills
No privacy. All documents and proceedings after death are public.

PRIVACY

Revocable Living Trusts
Totally private unless court intervention is required, which could be due to improper drafting or failure to transfer assets into the trust.

DISABILITY PLANNING

Wills
Only come into effect upon your death. If you become incapacitated, a public court proceeding might be needed to name someone to manage your assets.

DISABILITY PLANNING

Revocable Living Trusts
Seamless, private transition of asset management upon incapacity. Incapacity is determined privately by family members and/or doctors.

DISPOSITION OF ASSETS

Wills
Can be used to distribute assets upon death either outright or to beneficiaries in trust. Must go through the public probate process, which can be time-consuming.

DISPOSITION OF ASSETS

Revocable Living Trusts
Can be used for disposition of assets upon death either outright or to beneficiaries in trust. Done privately and quickly because probate process is avoided. No public record of beneficiaries.

CREDITOR PROTECTION

Wills
None while alive. Creditors of the estate have up to six months to present claims or they are forever barred.

CREDITORS PROTECTION

Revocable Living Trusts
None while alive. No creditor “shut off” period. Most trusts provide that valid claims against the estate be paid.

EFFORT REQUIRED

Wills
Less up front, but more for your heirs upon your disability or death.

EFFORT REQUIRED

Revocable Living Trusts
More effort to properly design your trust and properly transfer your assets to it in order to accomplish all of your goals today, both upon your incapacity and death. Much less effort by heirs later.

COST NOW

Wills
Usually low to moderate expense.

COST NOW

Revocable Living Trusts
Somewhat higher than a will to set up trust.

COSTS TO AMEND

Wills
Usually small.

COSTS TO AMEND

Revocable Living Trusts
Usually small.

COST LATER

Wills
Court costs, attorney’s fees, appraisal costs, etc.

COST LATER

Revocable Living Trusts
Some attorney’s fees and/or CPA fees to administer the transition to the new trustee.

A Will or A Revocable Living Trust

Planning Issue

Will Trust

Real Estate
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Young clients without kids
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Older clients with grown kids
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Limited assets (under $100,000), including life insurance proceeds payable on your death
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Assets in excess of $100,000, including life insurance proceeds payable on your death
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Large qualified retirement assets (IRAs, 40l(k), 403(b), etc.)
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Privacy issues
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Planning Issue

Will Trust

Possible or probable mental disability
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Desire to make everything as easy as possible for heirs
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Out-of-state real property or timeshare
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Complicated disposition issues
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Out-of-state executors, trustees or guardians
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Desire to build in asset protection of inheritance for spouse, children or grandchildren
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Planning for couples in second or subsequent marriages
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Planning for beneficiaries with special needs
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Wendi really took the time to answer all of our questions with a mix of humor and seriousness, and diligently followed up.  She is on it, and emotionally open to the emotional part of the process. Wendi makes you feel incredibly comfortable during all stages of what can seem like a daunting process.  I really trust her, and feel so much more prepared for my future and my children’s futures after going through this work. She provides a great gift to her clients.

~ Mari Brown ~



We had been researching lawyers for years to do our estate plan. We feel we learned more from our first 20 minutes with Wendi than we did in an hour with any of the others. Wendi was really patient with all of our questions and explained everything so well. We have already recommended her to several of our friends.

~ David and Celine Alper ~



We loved working with Temkin Law. We not only gained a better understanding of estates and trusts, but of ourselves as well. We can rest easy knowing that our ‘stuff’ is in order for our child. Doing the Legacy Interview was absolutely priceless. We so enjoyed getting to know Wendi.

~ L.W. and J.W. ~



Wendi made the process of estate planning, which I was reluctant to do, easy and actually fun.

~ Mitchel Rossman, M.D. ~



Wendi made a time-consuming process much easier to complete through her check-lists, templates, and clear instructions for every task. The binder she put together for us is so thorough and makes something overwhelmingly complicated possible to understand and follow. If I need to remember anything about what we did, I know it is in the binder!

~ Mary ~



This truly was the best experience with an attorney ever. Ms. Temkin shines brightly with her highly capable communication skill. She also brings a level of comfort that is authentic and unlike previous attorney contacts. Her personable communication style coupled with her strong knowledge base quickly streamlines the experience into a straight forward efficient session.

~ Judy Roberts ~

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Temkin Law Offices

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