How Living Trusts Differ From a Will

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At the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos, PC, in New York, NY, Barbara Katsos provides estate planning services including estate administration, probate proceedings, and estate taxes. She also creates wills and living trusts for her clients.

A living trust allows the grantor to state his or her wishes as to who will receive his or her assets in the event of death or incapacitation. Whereas a will is only effective after a person passes away and can only be enforced after going through probate, a living trust bypasses probate and allows the designated successor trustee to carry out the directions of the trust immediately in the event the grantor dies or becomes incapacitated.

Living trusts are set up as either a revocable or irrevocable trust. A revocable living trust allows the grantor to change the trust whenever he or she wants, while an irrevocable trust, once created, cannot be changed.


Understanding Living Trusts


Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

Barbara Katsos helps clients set up living trusts and provides a range of other legal services through her New York practice, the Law Offices of Barbara Katsos. In preparation for her career as an attorney, Barbara Katsos enrolled at the University of the City of New York Law School, where she earned her juris doctor.

For people interested in preserving their wealth and passing it down to their heirs, a living trust represents a viable and increasingly popular estate-planning option. When people enter into such an arrangement, it means they create a legal document with instructions that their assets be put into a trust.

While living, the person that created the trust receives the benefits, but upon his or her passing, the assets will go to the beneficiaries named in the living trust document. Importantly, living trusts are revocable, meaning they can be modified or ended entirely any time the creator wishes.

Perhaps the most attractive feature of a living trust is that it permits people to avoid the probate process associated with traditional wills. Probate involves verification by the courts, meaning that estate documents and family affairs enter the public record. By avoiding probate, living trusts preserve the privacy of those involved.