Comparative Guide to the Features of Nine Types of Planned Gifts

If you Become Incapacitated

No Will or With a Will

With a Will

Living Trust

Probate

No Probate

Court must name conservator/guardian who oversees your care and must give records and reports to the Court.

Same as with no Will

Your designated succes-sor manages your financial affairs according to your instructions in your Living Trust.

Costs

Your estate pays all court costs, conservator/guardian and legal fees.   

Same as with no Will

 

Time

Court controls all finances and approves all expenses. Creditors are notified and claims filed.

Same as with no Will

Your successor may act immediately and without Court approval.

Privacy

None. Probate proceedings are public.

Same as with no Will

Total privacy. A Living Trust is not a public record.

Suggested Bequest Wordings

Here are some suggested bequest wordings for your attorney to use in drawing up your will or amending your revocable living trust. 

Your attorney should help you determine which may be right for you. 

"I give to St. Gregory's Abbey, a Not For Profit Corporation located in Shawnee, Oklahoma,____% of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate." Federal ill #73-117-4716

Tax Efficiency of Your Bequest

In order to reduce possible income taxes due on the estate, the attorney may add, "This gift shall be paid out of 'income with
respect ofa decedent,' as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code, to the fullest extent possible. If such 'income with respect ofa decedent' as valuedfor Us. tax purposes is insufficient to pay this bequest, then the bequest shall be paid to
the extent necessary out of the general assets of my estate."

You Make the Comparison

No Will

With a Will

Living Trust

Probate

No Probate

Court orders debts paid and assets distributed according to state law (which may not be what you want). No ability to make charitable bequests or engage in death tax planning.

Normally requires filing an inventory of assets with the Court and notification to creditors. After waiting period required by law, Court orders debts paid and assets distributed according to the Will.

Your designated successor normally pays debts and immediately distributes assets according to the Living Trust.

Costs

Your estate pays all court costs and fees (legal, appraiser, accounting, executor, etc.) estimated at 4% to 8% of the “gross value” of your estate.

Usually the same as with no Will (could be less).

Minimal to none.

Time

Usually a minimum of 6 months or more; possibly years for larger or more complex estates.

Usually the same as with no Will (could be less).

Usually a few weeks for smaller estates; possibly a few months for larger estates.

Privacy

None. Probate proceedings are public. The details of your debts and assets are a matter of public record.

Same as with no Will. Also, the terms of your Will (including the details of your beneficiaries) are a matter of public record.

Total privacy. A Living Trust is not a public record.

Flexibility and Control

None. Your property is controlled by the probate process according to state law. Easy for anyone to contest.

Limited. Although you can change your Will at any time, it is a matter of public record and can more easily be contested. Family usually has no control over the probate process.

Total. You can change your mind at any time (even revoke your Living Trust). Your property is controlled by the terms of the Living Trust which is not a matter of public record and difficult to contest.