Perhaps the single greatest divide in estate planning is between those people who use the last will as their primary estate planning tool and those who use a revocable living trust instead. Choosing between using a will or a trust has a great impact on estate plans and often on what can be done with the estate plan.
Last wills must go through probate and be subjected to judicial oversight. This can be very expensive in some states. Trusts avoid probate. However, that means there is not as much oversight.
Whether someone should use a last will or a revocable living trust depends on many factors that should be discussed with an estate planning attorney. However, one important decision needs to be made for both last wills and trusts, as the Knoxville City View points out in "To Will or To Trust."
Both documents require deciding who should carry out the directions in the documents. In the last will, that person is called an executor. In a trust, that person is called a trustee. Sometimes, people decide who should fulfill those roles, without thinking about it very much.
They just pick someone they know and like. If an executor or trustee is not an appropriate choice, it can be harmful to any estate plan. The people in these roles need to be financially responsible and must be willing to take their roles very seriously. It is also helpful if they get along with everyone the last will or trust is designed to benefit to avoid any potential conflicts.
Contact a qualified estate planning attorney for advice regarding appropriate candidates for these essential roles.