WITH NO WILL WITH A WILL WITH A TRUST
At Incapacity (unable to handle your financial affairs) Court Control: Court appointee oversees your care, must keep detailed records, report to the court and usually post a bond (even if appointee is your spouse). Court oversees and approves all expenses & financial affairs. Court Control: Same as no Will. No Court Involvement. The named successor trustee manages your financial affairs and distributes your estate according to the instructions I your Trust.
At Death Probate: Court orders your debts paid and assets distributed according to state law. Probate: Same as no Will, but assets distributed per your will (if valid and any contests unsuccessful No Probate. Debts paid and assets distributed by named successor trustee pursuant to Trust provisions.
Costs: Court, Legal and Executor Death: Estimated 3-8% of estate’s value. Incapacity: Costs increase due to additional oversight Same as no Will. Costs may increase if Will is contested. Minimal or no court costs. Reduced legal fees.
Time Death: Usually 6 months to 2 years. Can be longer if sale of real property involved. Incapacity:  Court involved until recovery or death. Same as no Will. Death. Assets distributed and debts paid within a short period of time unless Trust specifies payment to an heir/beneficiary over time. Complex estates may take longer for tax returns. Incapacity. No delays.
Flexibility & Control None: Court processes, not your family; you have no control at incapacity or death. Whey you die assets are distributed according to state law. Limited: Same as no Will, except when you die assets are distributed according to your Will. Maximum. You may change or terminate your Trust at any time. Assets remain in your Trust regardless of incapacity or death.
Privacy None. Court proceedings are public. None. Same as no Will. Maximum. Trusts are not public. Your estate and distribution of assets remains private.