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What’s the difference between living trusts and simple wills in Delaware?

Delaware residents have plenty of options when it comes to estate planning. What estate planning tools you use depends entirely on what assets you’re hoping to pass down and what circumstances apply to your family.

Families with larger estates or beneficiaries that need special instructions and care might look into living trusts. For many people though, a simple will is more than enough to cover all of their estate planning needs.

What’s the difference between the two?

A will gives your surviving family members instructions as to what should happen to your belongings after you’ve passed. It doesn’t go into effect until after you’ve passed.

A living trust, however, becomes valid as soon as it’s set up. This allows your beneficiaries to take advantage of their inheritance early without having to go through the probate process.

What are the benefits of both?

Many people look into living trusts as a way to avoid the probate process. Probate can take months or even years to fully settle and the estate taxes can eat up large chunks of your estate, leaving less for your family.

A living trust can also be used to give surviving children more control over their inheritance and protect it from their other parent(s) if worse comes to worst. Living trusts are also protected from creditors and bankruptcy, offering your beneficiaries a sense of security.

A will is easier to set up and less expensive, but it doesn’t give your family any protection from estate taxes. Simple wills make probate easier but will not allow your heirs to avoid it entirely.

There are advantages to having a living trust as well as a simple will. To know if setting up a living trust is the right move for you, you’ll have to look at your current estate and consider how you best want to pass it down.