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Why you need a Will and a Living Trust?

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It is commonly thought that all you need is a Will but that is not generally the case.

A Will does not avoid Probate when you die. Probate is the legal process through which a Court (e.g. a Judge) oversees your assets are distributed according to your Will and that your debts are paid. Wills must be validated by the Probate Court before it can be enforced and subjects your Will and property to the control of the Court system.  Probate can cost your beneficiaries thousands to tens of thousands of dollars In attorneys fees.

Also, a Will can only take effect after you die. Therefore if you become incapacitated the Court could potentially take control of your assets before you die; which is not desirable.

Thankfully, a Living Trust addresses some of the negatives of only having a Will. A Living Trust helps your estate avoid Probate and therefore lets you keep control of your assets while you are living if you become incapacitated and gives you control of your assets after you die.

Another reason you need both a Will and a Living Trust Is because Guardians of minors or disabled family members can be appointed in a Will and not a Living Trust.