For New Yorkers who are thinking about their estate planning needs, the number of available options can seem overwhelming. Often, they might opt for the simplest solution of a basic will. While this is undoubtedly better than not having a will or any estate planning device at all, it is possible that there are individual goals that cannot be met with a simple will. More complex alternatives could be a wiser tactic to protect loved ones and achieve the individual’s goals.

A revocable living trust might sound complicated, but it can provide a variety of benefits. The terms should first be understood. Revocable trusts can be changed by the individual and the assets remain under that person’s control while he or she is alive. With a trust, there will be no probate after death. Probate can be costly, time-consuming and invite dispute among the heirs and beneficiaries. There are certain rules to avoiding probate including the trust having the assets under its name. The revocable living trust will grant privacy. Wills are public record and trusts are not. Once probate begins, the public has the right to see it. Many people do not want that.

People have beneficiaries in mind when they create an estate plan, but some assets could be redirected to places the individual did not want them to go. An example is a beneficiary’s second husband or wife. With a trust, the assets cannot be directed to the people the grantor does not want to have them. There are increased legal protections with trusts. Even if there is a legal challenge, it is harder to have it nullified. Beneficiaries benefit from the revocable living trust in out-of-pocket costs since it will cost less than a will.

A revocable living trust is often used in conjunction with a will as part of a comprehensive estate plan. Before deciding on what type of estate plan is preferable, it is useful to think about all the aspects of the estate, the beneficiaries, the goals and myriad other factors. A law firm experienced in wills, trusts, probate, health care needs and more can be helpful with the estate plan.