How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Richard Your Own Question

Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 44388
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
Richard is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What is the difference in having a will or a trust? Do you

Resolved Question:

What is the difference in having a will or a trust? Do you need both?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. If you are referring to a living trust and a will, you do not need both. The living trust is set up during your life to avoid probate. You transfer your assets that would otherwise go through probate to the trust and at your death, there are no probate assets and thus no need for a will. It's possible if you don't do a living trust, and you have a will that addresses your probate assets, that you have another kind of a trust set up in your will...a testamentary trust and/or a marital trust...which means that instead of your assets going directly to beneficiaries they go to these trusts. These trusts are used for tax purposes and when beneficiaries are minors or possibly ill equipped to handle their financial affairs. Certain assets don't need to be dealt with either through a trust or a will because they aren't probate assets. These include the following: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate such as life insurance and retirement accounts.



Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

I think I understand but need to clarify. I will set the scenario. My husband and I are in our 70's. We have just sold a rental property but it is on an installment, we received $5000.00 down and the balance of $30,000 is due to be payable in 7 years. If something should happen to both of us before this term expires who gets the proceeds or makes sure it is paid out? We do not have a will or any trusts set up. We also have 7 children. At closing yesterday I asked this question of the gal at the Title company and she said our trust would take care of it. We don't have a trust. We also have some IRS's, CD's, property, and our main home, some bank accounts not a lot in them.

Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.
Thanks for following up. Your IRA's likely have named beneficiaries so they will pass directly to those beneficiaries. With respect to the others, you can do this either by will or by living trust. If you do the wills, you simply designate who gets it if you and your husband die. Under that option, you simply have to do the will and nothing else at this point. If you elect a living trust, you must not only set up the trust agreement now, you must transfer your assets, including the installment note, to the living trust. Then, when you die, the trust agreement controls the disposition of the assets and there is no need for your estate to go through probate.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.


So a will goes through probate and a trust does not?


Why would anyone have a will then, if a trust is less problem at the end? Is the only benefit of a trust to avoid going through probate?

Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.
Yes, that is correct. It really depends upon the state and the difficulty of probate. A lot of people don't want to do the trust now because it involves a lot of expense up front...doing the trust agreement and then transferring all their assets to it. And, unless probate is really arduous, such as it is in California, then it doesn't create that much benefit. To be honest with you, most of the time the lawyers talk clients into the living trust so they can collect the fees now rather than later. :)
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Makes sense! In a will can you set one person as the executor? Since we have 7 children and each is in a different place in their lives I would not feel comfortable in saying just split all 7 ways?

Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.
Yes, you can name any one or more persons as executor or co-executors. And, you can divide your assets in any manner that you choose. :)
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Thank you! You have been a very big help. Do you also answer questions in regard to handling this sale on our taxes or is that someone else?

Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.
You're welcome! It's been my pleasure to help! You would need to post that as a new question in the tax category! I'm sorry!
Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 44388
Experience: 29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
Richard and 7 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.
Hi! I just wanted to let you know I'll be taking a short break. If you have any further follow ups, I will address them immediately upon my return. I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring a follow up if there is a bit of delay. I thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience caused by my delay!
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Thank you again, I will repost my question. Even though I am on a monthly prepaid I believe you deserve a bonus. I will complete that.


Thanks again

Expert:  Richard replied 7 months ago.
Thanks so much for the positive rating and the generous bonus! I appreciate your kindness and the opportunity to serve you! If I can be of assistance to you in the future, just look me up and I will be happy to help! For easy access, my bookmark is: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-legalbeacon/

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • My husband has been driving me insane with questions regarding estate issues since his mother died. I'm not a lawyer! Thanks to JustAnswer, I was able to calm his concerns. Loretta T Illinois
< Last | Next >
  • My husband has been driving me insane with questions regarding estate issues since his mother died. I'm not a lawyer! Thanks to JustAnswer, I was able to calm his concerns. Loretta T Illinois
  • Thanks Adam!! - A very direct and understandable response - you have been a great help! Happy Customer Ellicott City, MD
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Thomas McJD's Avatar

    Thomas McJD

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3076
    Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MC/mclemorelawyer/2011-9-21_193631_IMGP8718Version2.64x64.jpg Thomas McJD's Avatar

    Thomas McJD

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3076
    Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NY/nyclawyer/2012-6-7_22011_photo66139201112041.64x64.jpg Infolawyer's Avatar

    Infolawyer

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3781
    Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2188
    13 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/rayanswers/2012-6-7_23346_Untitled1.64x64.jpg RayAnswers's Avatar

    RayAnswers

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1484
    Texas lawyer for 29 years in Estate law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RO/RobertJDFL/2012-6-6_175352_7538220120606.64x64.jpg RobertJDFL's Avatar

    RobertJDFL

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1226
    Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    770
    12+ yrs. of experience including estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    754
    Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.