I just need to know which would be better for my Dad
I attached a link to the Arkansas Business which provides an analysis of both documents.
That is a very good question. To help you decide which is best for your family, I am pasting below a link to a "legal guide" that I have posted on Avvo earlier this year...also, I am pasting the text of the guide for your convenience.
Best of luck and please consider contacting an Arkansas attorney to help you as you will certainly need guidance in deciding how to best accomplish you family's goals and serve their needs.
When deciding on the right estate plan for you and your family, it is often asked whether you should have a will or a trust. There is not a one-sized fits all answer because each person's situation and needs are different. This guide highlights what each option can and cannot accomplish for you.
Advantages of a Will
A Will is cheaper than a trust to execute ... so you'll save money now. You determine who receives your property upon your death. Once a will is executed (now), there is nothing more to do...no transfers of property are required now. You can appoint a guardian for your children in a will.
Disadvantages of a Will
A Will requires Probate, which can be very time consuming and expensive after your death. For Texas residents, however this is NOT the case because Texas's probate system is very efficient and effective. Because of this, going through probate in Texas does not generally require a great deal of time and money, like it often does in other states. Your information becomes public record during the probate process.
Advantages of a Living Trust
Upon death, the Trust continues, so you keep the ability to manage your assets. You determine who receives your property upon your death; NOT the state. If you become disabled / incapacitated, it is very easy for another person (successor trustee to step in an manage your affairs). Avoids probate process Less hassle for your heirs because avoids probate Less expensive for your heirs because avoids probate (and the attorney fees that go with it) Saves time because avoids probate maintains your and your estate's privacy because it avoids probate
Disadvantages of a Living Trust
More expensive initially than executing a Will. You must remember you have a Trust! Requires putting / transferring property into the Trust's name as it is acquired and as changes to your property occur. Must be sure, when dealing with your property (buying, selling, transferring, etc.), to do so in the name of the Trust. Can not name a guardian in a trust (though this disadvantage is taken care of by executing a "pour-over" will that is included during my preparation of a Trust).
I like Jeremy's answer. I would add that there is a third option that many of my clients choose. That option is to be sure that all of his assets have beneficiary designations. On your checking and other banking accounts, you can make the heirs the beneficiary of those accounts by making them Payable On Death (POD). This makes sure the asset goes to the heirs without going through probate. We can do the same thing with the real estate by doing either a Life Estate Deed or a Beneficiary Deed. This is a very inexpensive option. It does however, leave the money directly to the child and if there are any concerns about the child's ability to manage money, if you want to put some controls on the money after death, or if a beneficiary is disabled, then you will need to do a trust.
Also, you did not mention your dad's age, but when he gets this done, be sure he does Power of Attorney documents for finances and healthcare also. This is crucial as he ages in order to allow someone to help him with his affairs and minimize the requirement to go to court.
This is general information and not specific legal advice. You should seek the advice of your own attorney since seemingly simply facts can make a huge difference in how the law will effect your case.
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