Home Finances How to Decide: A Will or a Trust?

How to Decide: A Will or a Trust?

Legacy Estate Planning

Steve Waltar with Legacy Estate Planning joins Suzanne to talk about whether you might choose to have a will or a trust for your estate, and why.

Steve says, “Everyone needs a plan, right? So it’s not a will or trust, it’s a plan. A will doesn’t work till you die, so you need powers of attorney, healthcare, et cetera. And then others would like to do a trust, and there’s really common reasons to do a trust. You’ve got real property in more than one state. Our state’s doubled the tax exempt amount. But I was meeting with a couple once – I might as well tell a story embarrassing about me. This was a retired pastor and I was ready to sign the fee agreement to do their will plan. And the wife says, ‘how come Suzie Ormond says some people want to live in trust?’ And I said, well, some people are worried about privacy, and they want to avoid probate. They said, ‘we want to avoid probate. We want things private.’ I said, some people want stronger incapacity planning. ‘Well, we want that.’ And after four or five things in a row. I said, let me draft you guys a living trust. And the financial advisor was like, ‘you sold them a trust.’ And I said, they wanted a trust. There’s lots of advantages of a trust. Our job as a state planners is to ask a bunch of questions and design a plan that fits.

“If someone’s single, they have adult children, and they’re not at all worried about giving outright to the kids, a will plan is just fine. In Washington sate, you can even do a transfer on death deed. So it’s almost like a brokerage account where it goes directly to a beneficiary without court. There are times when a will is the only way to plan. In Washington, if you’re married and you want to protect assets from the state of Washington for like a Medicaid lien and Medicaid planning.

“But for a lot of people, here’s my little [diagram], it’s maybe hard to see, but this is Homer and Marge Simpson. While you’re alive, you could put assets in the trust and it breaks into the above-ground and below-ground, what that does is it doubles your tax free amount. It gives you creditor protection, it gives you remarriage protection. I don’t care if my wife remarries if I die first, but I don’t want it to go to a new spouse, right? I want to be for her and ultimately our children. So a trust is just bigger, better or stronger. It’s not for everyone.

“We don’t determine what plan people have. We ask questions and reveal and then they kind of self select.”

Learn more:
Legacy Estate Planning: https://www.waltar.com/
Steve Waltar: https://www.waltar.com/our-firm/about-our-firm/
Books: https://www.waltar.com/resources/books-published-by/
Webinars and seminars: https://www.waltar.com/seminars/

Hear more podcasts with Steve Waltar at Answers for Elders: https://answersforelders.com/tag/stephen-waltar/

Answers for Elders is part of the Senior Resource Network: https://www.seniorresource.com/
Check out our affiliate podcast Alzheimer’s Speaks: https://alzheimersspeaks.com/