Planning for your family’s future is a paramount concern, and one of the fundamental decisions in estate planning is choosing between a will and a trust. These legal instruments offer distinct advantages and drawbacks, each catering to different needs and circumstances. At Crosby & Crosby LLP, we understand the complexities of estate planning in Illinois. In this article, we’ll guide you through the pros and cons of wills and trusts, while also shedding light on the significance of “pre-death” and “post-death” documents in securing your legacy.

Understanding the Basics

Pros and Cons of a Will:


  • Simplicity: Wills are straightforward and easy to create.
  • Cost-Effective: Wills tend to be less expensive to establish.
  • Flexibility: Wills can accommodate various assets and beneficiaries.


  • Probate Process: There are potential delays, costs, and public exposure associated with probate.
  • Limited Control: Wills sometimes impose limitations in managing assets.

Pros and Cons of a Trust:


  • Avoiding Probate: With a trust you can bypass the probate process, saving time and costs.
  • Privacy: Trusts offer a higher degree of privacy compared to wills.
  • Asset Management: Trusts can provide detailed instructions for asset distribution.


  • Complexity: There can sometimes be complex issues involved in setting up and maintaining a trust.
  • Cost: Potentially, there are higher upfront costs associated with trusts.

Differences between “pre-death” and “post-death” Estate Planning Documents

A key element in estate planning is knowing the difference between “pre-death” and “post-death” documents.

Pre-Death Documents:

  • Powers of Attorney: In this document you appoint agents who can manage your financial and healthcare decisions.
  • Living Wills: With a living will you specify your medical preferences when you cannot communicate them.
  • Funeral Directives: Obviously, this document specifies your funeral wishes.
  • HIPAA Authorization: This document permits healthcare providers to share your medical information with trusted individuals.
  • Guardianship Nominations: This document nominates guardians for minor children.

Post-Death Documents:

  • Wills: A will distributes your assets, such as real estate and life insurance, after your passing.
  • Trusts: A trust seamlessly transfers assets to beneficiaries without the need for probate.

Couple comparing wills vs trusts with Illinois attorney.

Estate Lawyers in Rockford – The Power of Comprehensive Planning

With these estate planning basics in mind, we encourage you to seek professional guidance and discover why consulting an experienced estate planning attorney is vital. Among other things, you will learn:

  • To balance the pros and cons of wills and trusts.
  • How both wills and trusts can work together in a comprehensive estate plan.
  • The importance of both “pre-death” and “post-death” documents in your estate planning.
  • How proper planning can minimize estate tax liabilities for your beneficiaries.

At the law firm of Crosby & Crosby LLP, we know that every client is different and each has unique estate planning goals. Consequently, with our legal services we strive to provide our clients with a comprehensive understanding of all options available to them so the client can make fully informed decisions when creating their estate plans.

With years of experience, Crosby & Crosby LLP is here to guide you through the complexities of estate planning in Illinois, ensuring that your legacy is protected, your assets are distributed as you intend, and your loved ones are provided for according to your wishes.

For personalized assistance and to create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your needs, contact Crosby & Crosby LLP today. Let us help you navigate the intricate legal issues of estate planning to secure a brighter future for your family.