What is the difference between a revocable living trust and a will?


Quick Answer

Unlike a will, a revocable living trust avoids probate, does not become public record, and protects a person before his death as well as after, according to AARP. Individuals cannot name guardians or property managers for their children or name an executor in a revocable living trust.

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Full Answer

A revocable living trust shares many similarities with a will, but it also has several advantages. In addition to avoiding probate and minimizing delays, a trust can manage more complex situations than a will, states the Law Office of C. Thomas Tolly III. With a trust, an individual can designate assets to support a living spouse, and then pass those along to children from a previous marriage after the spouse's death.

The flexibility and privacy of a revocable living trust are appealing, but trusts are not the best option for everyone. Setting up a trust is much more expensive than drafting a will, and it is best for individuals with large estates and a variety of assets, says AARP.

The revocable living trust is not a replacement for a traditional will. There are some things a living trust cannot do, such as name guardians or detail the repayment of debts, so even with a trust, a person still needs a will, explains Nolo.

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