revocable trust

How do you know when you need a Trust instead of a Will?

trust-482655_1280In a previous post, I wrote about the times a person needs to have an Oklahoma Last Will and Testament. The Will is the most basic of estate planning documents. There are, however, times when need and/or personal preference dictate that the revocable trust is a better choice.

How do you know when trust would be better? Consider some of these factors:

1. Privacy is important.

As I wrote a couple of months ago, this factor is often underrated in estate planning. If a Will is probated, all records of the proceeding are publicly available and, indeed, available online for anyone to view and print at any hour of the day or night.

2. Strong desire to avoid probate.

A Will does not provide any means to avoid probate. If you pass away owning real property that is not jointly titled, your heirs will be going through probate process at some point. With an Oklahoma trust however, the trust exists and owns the real property the day it is transferred into the trust. Since the Trust is the owner of the real property, the death of an individual does not impact this.  No probate case is required to transfer title to the real property.  Your family saves time and money.

3. You need to plan for a mental disability or a special needs.

If you have children, grandchildren, or other dependents with special needs a Trust can be customized to meet these needs, by specifying and limiting access or control over inherited property. A Will allows you to pass on your property to those heirs but a Will in itself does not allow you to exercise substantial control over your heirs use of the property.

4. You own real property in more than one state.

If you have a summer home in Missouri, leaving that property in a Will probably means a Missouri probate: hiring an attorney in Missouri and paying attorney fees and costs to get the property transferred. A Trust allows you to hold and pass the title on the real estate to your loved ones without the unnecessary travel and expense if doing a probate case in a foreign state.

5. You have children who are not children of your spouse.

Children from previous relationships require special consideration because each child likely has an absolute right to inherit from their parent.  However, your current relationship circumstances may call for distributing property differently. A Trust, more flexible than a Will, is a better vehicle to handle these considerations and ensure that your assets go precisely where you them to go.

If you found this post useful, below are a few other posts which you may also find useful:

Why privacy is a highly underrated feature of a living trust

When do I need to have a will?

A diagram of the documents used in Oklahoma estate planning

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Posted by Shawn Roberts in Blogposts, Oklahoma Estate Planning, Oklahoma Probate