In the current age of social media and fast-paced electronic news, some Illinois families fear what will be revealed about their family if a prominent relative passes away. If privacy is a concern, it helps to know whether a will, trust or both can provide you with greater protection from public scrutiny. Depending on which you choose, you stand a greater chance of shielding sensitive family information.

As Forbes explains, going through probate will not offer the survivors of a deceased relative much privacy. The reason is that a will, once filed with the court, is available to the public. Because of this, it is not entirely uncommon for wills of famous or prominent people to be posted online. By contrast, a trust is not filed with a probate court, so the details of a trust are not made public.

The increase in privacy afforded by a trust also decreases the likelihood that someone will challenge the trust since fewer parties are aware of what the trust entails. If a family is concerned about their estate being litigated, establishing a trust can decrease the possibility that this will happen. However, not all families necessarily want to keep their estate affairs private. Some believe that exposing their estate plans to the public helps promote accountability.

There are other factors that come into play when deciding which estate planning components to utilize. A will is often the foundation of an estate plan and is less costly than a trust. Also, after forming a trust, you would have to transfer ownership of property and assets to the trust or they will not count as part of the trust. Still, some families find that the greater control over dispensing assets offered by a trust is the best route to take. Ultimately, these are choices that are up to you and your loved ones.

This article is written to provide general information on estate and probate matters and is not to be taken as legal advice.