Estate Plans Compared (Wills vs. Trusts)

Estate Plans Compared

No Will or Trust

Will Only

Living Trust

Estate Tax Trust

Can I avoid probate?

No

No

Yes

Yes, if funded during your life

Can I reduce/avoid federal estate taxes?

No

No

No

Yes

Will my estate stay private when I die?

No

No

Yes

Yes, if funded during your life

Can I keep inheritance from my heirs until they reach age 30 or older?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Can I arrange to have funds managed for the benefit of an heir who is handicapped or otherwise unable to handle funds?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Can I make sure my grandchildren will receive my estate after my children die, excluding spouses of my children?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Can I leave assets to children from an earlier marriage, cutting out present spouse?

No

No

Depends on the state

Depends on the state and how trust is set up

How long should it take after my death until all assets are distributed and the estate is closed, assuming all goes well?

6 mo. – 2 yr.

6 mo. – 2 yr.

2 – 9 mo.

9 mo. – 2 yr.

Can I retain control over my assets while I’m alive?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Depends on how trust is set up

Can I change/revoke the plan?

N/A

Yes

Yes

Depends on how trust is set up

Does the plan provide for someone to handle my finances if I become disabled?

No

No

Yes

Yes, if funded during your life.