A Will is always part of the public record. A Trust generally is not. You may be able to avoid probate without the need for a trust, given your relatively simple needs. You should discuss this with an estate planning lawyer to determine what your best option is. You will want durable power of attorney forms, no matter what other planning tools you decide on.
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A trust can include all of the information a will includes, so that no probate is necessary and the document will remain private. However, an estate will not avoid probate, even with a trust, if all of the assets are not transferred to the trust name.
The will is always a public document. But a trust is a private one. So if you create a living trust while alive and place all of your assets including the real estate and the auto (although this is a clumsy way to do it legally) then these assets are privately held in the trust. However, prudence always dictates having a will with a pourover provision to such trust in the event you missed some assets or your estate ends up being entitled to some assets such as from a wrongful death or other suit brought by the estate. Get with an estate planning attorney and do not try this on your own.
Hope this helps.
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A trust can be used to avoid a public administration. The trust would state who the property should go to at death and the Trustee would follow the terms of the trust to divide the property once the trustmaker has passed away. It is very important that the assets be transferred to the trust during the trustmaker's lifetime in order to avoid probate. To transfer a house to the trust, your attorney would prepare a new deed to the Trustee. To transfer a car to the trust, you would sign the title over to the Trustee. It is important to speak with your attorney about the pros and cons of transferring certain property into trust. For example, it is not always advisable to transfer a home into trust and your attorney can advise you whether it makes sense in your situation to do so.
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