Estate Planning 101: Wills and Trusts

The Bird’s Eye View:

In part two of our estate planning series, we’re talking with attorneys Chris Gaughan and Casey Connealy about the difference between wills and trusts. Which one should you have, and what are the pros and cons?


Your Guide:

Welcome to part two in our series on estate planning. On this episode of Your Retirement Elevated podcast with Scott Dougan, we’ll explain the difference between wills and trusts.

Our guests today are Chris Gaughan and Casey Connealy, with Gaughan & Connealy Estate Planning Attorneys.

“As estate planners, the number one question that we get without a doubt is what is the difference between a will and a trust,” said Casey. “They don’t know the difference, and they don’t know which one of those they might need.”

What if you don’t have a will or trust?

Studies show as many as 70% of people don’t have a will or a trust when they die.

“If you don’t have an estate plan at the time you pass away, state law is basically going to govern where your stuff goes,” said Chris.

This is where probate comes in. It’s a process of retitling assets when you die. There are a couple of drawbacks to probate, but the biggest one is the cost. Probate fees can be around 3% to 5% of the gross value of whatever goes through probate.

So if you have a house worth $250,000, and there’s a mortgage for $200,000, that 3% to 5% probate fee applies to the total value of the house, not the mortgage. To get that house through probate, you’re looking at anywhere from $7,500 to $12,500.

In addition to the cost, probate is very time consuming. It can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.

During this episode, Chris and Casey also share:

  • What a will is and why you need one
  • How you can protect your children
  • Reasons to use a trust

Listen to the full episode or use the timestamps below to find specific segments.

[2:40] – What if you don’t have a will or trust?

[5:34] – What is a will?

[7:43] – What is a trust?

[9:40] – Other reasons to use a trust

[12:15] – Divorce protection

[13:16] – Protecting children

[14:12] – Money management concerns

[14:59] – Children with special needs

[15:56] – Should I have a will or trust?

[19:33] – What do I do next?

[21:16] – Contact Chris and Casey

Thanks for checking out the Your Retirement Elevated Podcast. We’ll talk to you again on the next show.


Check out Part 1 of our Estate Planning 101 Series. 


Your Guide:

Home Insight About Scott

Scott Dougan, RFC, Investment Advisor – Contact