Category: Estate Planning

Estate Planning Review: Choosing a Will or a Trust

July 29, 2010  |  William F. Huefner

by Doug Dehn Winter 2007 In Brief Newsletter Should I have a Will or a Trust? This is a common client interview starting point. The answer is not always simple. Discussion ensues as to what the pros and cons are as to Wills and Revocable Living Trusts (RLTs). Wills may simply name your beneficiaries, personal representative and alternates and contain other basic terms. A will may also contain a Contingent Trust for the benefit of children or grandchildren, a Disclaimer Trust for estate tax planning purposes, or both. An RLT, designed to avoid probate and insure privacy, also designates beneficiaries, successor trustees and alternates. An RLT may also contain a Contingent Trust, A Disclaimer Trust or both. Because there are relatively simple steps with a Will, most people decide to use Wills and not RLT’s. However, RLTs do have very legitimate purposes. First , if a client owns property in more than one state, the use of an RLT will avoid an ancillary (extra) probate in that second or third state. Most states have probate systems that are more complicated, time consuming and expensive than Minnesota. The avoidance of an ancillary probate is one of the primary reasons for using RLTs. Secondly, using an RLT ensure privacy. Some clients prefer RLTs to avoid…

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