Call Now to Speak with a Care Manager Speak with a Care Manager Now: (414) 964-8000

Understanding the Difference Between a Last Will and a Living Trust

By Rick Cohen, 9:00 am on

Most seniors want to make sure their personal property and financial assets end up in the hands of the loved ones they wish to trust with such responsibilities. A will and a trust are the most common methods available for determining how assets will be divided, with some notable differences you and your senior loved one may want to take into consideration.

Last Will

A last will covers any property, both physical and financial, that will be distributed to the listed parties following death. It is also subject to probate, a process where the validity of the distributions can be challenged. According to Milwaukee elderly care professionals, a will tends to benefit seniors who:

• Don’t have significant assets
• Have specific belongings they only want distributed after death
• Already have a separate living will or advance directive
• Want to specify their funeral arrangements

Living Trust

Under the terms of what is referred to as a living trust, property can be distributed or allocated while your loved one is alive. However, a trust is only a viable option if there are assets in it. A trust does not involve the courts, so your senior loved one will have greater control over how his or her assets are handled now and after death. Seniors may prefer a trust if they:

• Have significant assets that need to be managed now and after they pass
• Want to make provisions for what will happen if they become incapacitated
• Wish to spare their loved ones the burden of added taxes

Another option for your senior loved one is to create both a will and a trust. However, any property not referenced by the trust may be subject to probate. Placing assets of significant value in a trust can usually avoid this issue. If you need additional guidance, consult with an attorney specializing in estate management or elder law matters.

When helping your aging loved one make estate plans, consider asking about his or her long-term care plans as well. While additional support may not be necessary at present, having a plan in place can prevent frustration and stress down the road. To learn more about local care options, turn to Home Care Assistance. We provide hourly and live-in care, in addition to stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care Milwaukee families can count on. Call our office at (414) 964-8000 and speak with a friendly Care Manager today.