Fisher Investments Reviews Wills and Revocable Living Trusts


Fisher Investments Market Perspectives

By Fisher Investments — 7/09/2024

Wills and revocable living trusts are two common tools people utilize in estate planning to make their wishes known. In this article, we take a closer look at both and discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks of each. Please remember that laws in your state can materially affect the following information, so it is imperative you seek competent legal advice when determining if a will or a revocable living trust is best for your personal financial situation.

To learn more about how Fisher Investments can support you and your family’s financial journey—including through the estate planning process—schedule a meeting today or visit the Financial Planning page of our website.

What is a Will?

A will is a legally binding document that specifies how and when assets should be distributed to your heirs or other beneficiaries after your death. It can also be used to appoint a guardian to care for any minor children you may have at the time of your death. A will must be admitted to probate for it to have legal effect. Probate is the process by which a court determines your will is valid and approves the appointment of the executor (personal representative) named in your will. The executor is a fiduciary who is responsible for administering your estate, which includes carrying out the terms of your will and satisfying any debts or other legal obligations of your estate.

How a Will Operates

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A revocable living trust is a trust you create during your lifetime. The trust owns any property you transfer to it. A trustee is responsible for managing the trust as you direct for your benefit. You can be the trustee of your trust while you are alive, or the trustee can be a third party. You can also appoint co-trustees.

Upon your death, your successor trustee(s)—those you have appointed to take over the trust after you pass away or become incapacitated—carries out the trust administration process by paying any required debts and/or taxes and distributing the remaining trust property to your beneficiaries according to the terms of your trust. When you create your trust, you also sign a “pour-over will” that directs any “orphaned assets”—anything not already transferred into the trust’s ownership before your death and that doesn’t pass by other means, such as a beneficiary designation—to the trust via probate.

How a Revocable Living Trust Operates

Benefits and Potential Drawbacks of Wills and Revocable Living Trusts

Select Wills or Trusts from the slider tab below to learn more about their specific benefits and potential drawbacks. Use the arrows to toggle between different benefits and drawbacks. For more details on a specific benefit or drawback, click on the ⓘ icon.

Choosing Your Estate Plan

A good first step in choosing an estate plan is to make a list of your assets, including any property, insurance policies, banking or investment accounts and any other assets you own. A Fisher Investments Financial Planning Counselor can provide resources to aid you in this process. Additionally, talking to your loved ones about their role in your estate plan can help clarify your wishes. Finally, you should consult an attorney to discuss your options and the legal requirements of your state to create the plan best suited to your personal financial situation.

Fisher Investments’ Financial Planning Services

In addition to tailored portfolio management services, Fisher Investments offers a comprehensive selection of financial planning services to our clients. These services focus on key areas we believe are critical to reaching our clients’ long-term goals, including financial planning, estate plan evaluation, insurance analysis, tax planning, annuity evaluation, Social Security and Medicare guidance, banking support and more.

To learn more about these services and how we can help you, please visit our Financial Planning page.

For market and financial planning insights from Fisher Investments, read our latest articles.

Additional Resources

To learn more about how Fisher Investments can support you in reaching your long-term financial goals, schedule an appointment today. To support you in your financial planning journey, we also offer a robust array of educational financial planning materials, some of which are listed below. For more details, contact us at (888) 823-9566.

Nothing herein constitutes legal, tax or investment advice. The foregoing constitutes the general views of Fisher Investments and should not be regarded as personalized advice. Please seek the guidance of a CPA when making tax planning decisions. You should consult with a lawyer qualified in your state before implementing any changes to your estate plan. Fisher Investments cannot sell you an insurance policy. If you want to purchase an insurance policy, you should contact a licensed insurance provider in your state. Investing in securities involves a risk of loss.

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