Godbey Law LLC | Blog
Do I Need a Living Trust, or Is a Simple Will Enough?
Deciding whether you require a “living trust” or just a “simple will” depends on your individual needs.

A living trust can give you more flexibility, control and the ability to continually manage your estate and affairs, but will cost more money upfront.

A simple will does not cost as much, but also doesn’t offer as much flexibility. Even if you have a living trust, you should also have a simple will.

A big factor in your decision is going to be the value of your estate. If you do not own property ― or own property of little value ― a simple will may be all you need. However, if you own property high in value, then a living trust might be a better choice due to the probate process and the complexity that occurs with dividing larger estates.

The expense of a living trust will need to be justified. If you have assets valued at $100,000 or less, a living trust is probably not necessary. When you have over $1 million in assets ― which includes things such as your home or life insurance ― a living trust is more justifiable.

To help you determine which mechanism is best for your particular situation, consider the suggestions to the commonly asked questions below:

Do you intend to leave your assets to your children? If so, then it is best to opt for a simple will.
Are your estate plans simple? If so, you may not need a living trust.
Would you like court supervision over your estate and affairs? If yes, then you will want to go with a simple will.
Hopefully these suggestions have provided some assistance on deciding whether to use a simple will or living trust to divide up your assets. If you are having still difficulty in making a decision, it is best to seek the advice of an estate planning lawyer for further guidance.
Valuable Digital Assets: Estate Planning’S New Frontier
A person must make many decisions when creating a will, establishing a trust or implementing other estate planning strategies. Important choices regarding everything from tangible assets to the identity of people chosen to carry out one’s wishes will have long term implications.

One area of concern that has received enhanced attention from estate planning and probate lawyers in recent years is the fate of a person’s digital assets. Everything from a person’s Facebook profile to email distribution lists and other reams of data can have significant value, particularly if they are affiliated with a business or particular skill.

For some people, the unique value of certain online assets will mean that they want to ensure that the item goes to a particular person. Any web identity from an online gaming presence to a blogger’s persona could become a subject for designating passwords and future control to a trusted colleague or cherished friend or loved one. The same is true for digital assets with personal value such as family digital photo albums or genealogy documentation.

Distinctions between licensing of content and property rights can have important implications for a person’s ability to pass along access to another. For instance, a music account such as iTunes involves an indefinite license to access music files in the Cloud that is not the same as a stack of CDs. On the other hand, messages and contact lists saved in a Gmail account are generally considered to be property that can be passed on to another person.

Due to the difficulties some families have encountered with ability to access vital information from a personal email or social media account after a person’s death, some states have enacted specific laws to authorize personal representatives (executors) to have access to the information. Ohio is a rarity among states that have passed laws regarding digital assets, but this is a rapidly developing area of law where determinations must often be made in probate court based on existing statutes and legal precedents that were intended for financial assets and other property.

Because digital assets can change quickly and frequently, they might often be designated in the residuary clause of a trust or will, which disposes of the remainder of an estate after certain items and assets have been detailed. An Ohio estate planning attorney can explain the latest legal developments and help a client consider all factors relevant to digital asset preservation and future control.