Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

Will vs Trust in Arizona: Which is Better?

Will or Trust Which is Better in Arizona

It is up to us to live up to the legacy that was left for us, and to leave a legacy that is worthy of our children and of future generations. -Christine Gregoire

Your legacy – what you leave behind for those you love and who love you – is not about money. Kindnesses, compassion, caring…these acts will live on in the hearts of your heirs for as long as they live. When it’s time to plan for the future, you want to do what’s best for everyone.

Even if you aren’t wealthy, estate planning is important. Both a will or trust can prepare your assets to be passed on after you’re gone. What are their differences?

Trust vs Will in Arizona: What’s the Difference?

A will in Arizona is a document that states what you want to happen after your death. It’s sometimes referred to as your “last will and testament.” If you die without a will in Arizona, your estate is distributed to your family following general, pre-established guidelines. This means your estate may be divided in a way you didn’t want. The people you hoped would inherit your estate may not. Your will can include:

  • Beneficiaries
  • Business assets/distribution
  • Care for your pets
  • Disposal of debts/taxes
  • Guardianship for your children and their inheritance
  • Property beneficiaries
  • The executor of your estate

There are two types of trusts; a revocable trust, sometimes called a “living trust” or a “revocable living trust,” and an irrevocable trust. You can change the revocable trust at any time. But you can not change the irrevocable trust. Property held in a trust won’t go through “probate” (the official proof of a will) before your loved ones receive their inheritance.

Wills and living trusts are not mutually exclusive estate planning devices. In fact, if you have a trust, you should probably have a will to make sure all of your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. Most trusts do not provide instructions for everything in your estate. …Without a will, anything you didn’t transfer into the trust will go through that long and expensive probate process. Once again, those assets will be distributed according to state law – and most likely not the way you would choose to have your property dispersed. –balancepro.net

Wills are public and trusts are private and more difficult to contest. A trust is also a way to better manage your children’s inheritance.

Can You Have Both a Will and a Living Trust?

Yes, you can have both a will and a living trust. A trust doesn’t replace a will; they are two separate documents. You can manage most of your assets through a trust. But you need a will to designate who gets what; the will specifies the distribution of items in your estate. A family heirloom or a beloved book can go to anyone you name in your will.

A will covers everything you own at the time of your death. It will be managed by the court system. You can specifically transfer property in a trust. It is not regulated by the court. A trust goes into effect before you die.

One of the advantages of a trust is if you become incapacitated, your trustees (heirs) can handle your estate. Another advantage of a trust is to establish satisfactory distribution and management of children’s inheritances. In most circumstances, a trust will save your heirs money on taxes.

What is a Living Trust in Arizona?

A living trust in Arizona is a legal document that allows a person to transfer legal ownership of the assets they accumulated during their life into a living trust, as a part of their estate planning. After you pass away, the assets in your trust will be transferred to the beneficiary that you named.

Revocable Living Trust in Arizona

A revocable living trust in Arizona is a legal document that determines how a person’s assets will be handled after they die. Your assets can include anything from investments and bank accounts to valuable possessions and real estate. One benefit of a revocable trust vs irrevocable trust is that you can alter or cancel the trust however and whenever you want.

5 Reasons a Trust is Better Than a Will in Arizona

The five reasons trusts are better than wills include:

  • A will cannot be used to Avoid probate as a trust can
  • A will cannot provide creditor protection for the inheritance you will leave to your children as a trust can
  • A will cannot protect government benefits for people with disabilities but a trust can
  • A will can’t reduce estate taxes as a trust can
  • A will can’t administer assets for beneficiaries (minors) without court intervention as a trust can

Your Will or Trust for Peace of Mind

Estate planning is the right thing to do for the people you love. It’s another way to say “thank you” to those who love you. Some of the decisions are hard, but at Ogborne Law, we will help you navigate these difficult decisions. Your Arizona estate planning attorney can help you select a will or trust or both. Your estate solution will work for you. You will have the peace of mind that comes with effective planning for the future. Call 602.343.1435 or contact Ogborne Law with questions.