Choosing how and in what form to leave your monetary legacy is a major decision. If you have a significant amount of assets, what you decide could affect the future of your beneficiaries in a big way. However, contention among beneficiaries can reduce your estate due to litigation costs or even tarnish your legacy. This makes your choice even more vital.

Which is harder to contest?

While both a will and a living trust are viable options, a trust is more difficult to contest if you think that will be a likely outcome. Beneficiaries of a trust may have a longer period in which to file a suit (two years vs. three months for a will), but it is more difficult in every other way.

A living trust vs. a standing will

Many people prefer trusts, because they can avoid probate. A living trust is active in nature. Alternatively, a will is static.

True to its name, a living trust is enacted while you are alive, which means it will be more difficult to contest on the grounds of incapacitation. A contester would have to prove that you have been incapacitated for the duration of your trust’s existence—a difficult task.

Second, a will’s assets will be frozen if it is contested, to preserve the estate. A trust’s beneficiaries, on the other hand, continue to receive the assets as planned throughout contention, honoring your wishes.

Take care to prepare your legacy with an experienced attorney, who can help you avoid these potential pitfalls with an airtight estate. Proper documentation will help preserve your wishes beyond your death.