A will is a document that becomes effective upon the death of the person who wrote it and directs who receives their property and appoints a legal representative to handle probate. A will must be probated and becomes a matter of public record.

A living trust is legal arrangement in which a person (“the grantor”) gives or grants another party (“the trustee”) the authority to handle their assets on behalf of and for the benefit of a third party (“the beneficiary”) while the grantor is alive. The trustee can manage any assets that are retitled to the trust. Typically, the grantor also acts as the trustee of the trust and is also a beneficiary. A trust is effective as soon as it is created and can be used to begin distributing property according to the wishes outlined in the trust documents by the grantor before his or her death, at death, or afterwards. A living trust is a private document and does not become a part of public record when created or at death.

Both a will and a revocable living trust can be amended or revoked as long as you have the mental capacity to do so. Both a will and a revocable trust deal with FINANCIAL MATTERS; however, a trust is a powerful tool to assist with incapacity because successor trustees can take over managing the trust assets when a trustee passes or becomes mentally incapacitated, frequently avoiding the need for a conservator proceeding.

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