What’s the Difference Between a Trust and a Will?

Throughout your life, you no doubt, have accumulated many possessions. Houses, land, businesses, and vehicles are only some of the assets that might make up your estate. These possessions are important to you, so in the unfortunate event of your death, you want to be sure that they all end up in the right hands.

Why You Need a Will or Trust

Simply put, if you don’t create a plan for your wishes regarding your estate, your state government will. As if coping with your death wasn’t enough, your family members now are faced with the complicated and confusing process of negotiating possession of your assets with the courts.

Creating a detailed plan for your estate is no easy task. It requires a lot of careful thought and consideration, but it is well worth the effort. Here are just a few basic questions to use as a basis for your estate planning.

  • Who you want to receive the assets that you possess?
  • What exactly you want them to receive after your death?
  • When do you want them to receive your assets?

Will vs. Trust - What's the difference

Wills and trusts are very similar. Both are very detailed legally binding documents acknowledging your specific wishes for your estate and your minor children after your death. However, there are a few key aspects that set each apart from one another.

The main difference between a will and a trust is that a will only goes into effect after your death, while trusts take effect immediately upon creation. 

With a will, ownership of your assets is given to specified individuals through a court-supervised procedure, known as probate. This process includes locating and calculating the value of your assets, paying any existing debts, and then distributing the remainder of your estate to the appropriate beneficiaries.

Those with minor children should strongly consider a will that appoints guardianship of your kids. If a guardian is not specified at the time of your death, your family members will need assistance in probate court. This could result in the appointment of guardians whom you may not want to be entrusted with your children.

One method of avoiding probate court is to create a living trust. With a living trust, your property is transferred while you are still alive, (in most cases), eliminating the need for the probate process.

Living trusts are one of two main types, the other being testamentary trusts. This type is created in order to manage your possessions on behalf of the beneficiaries.

In most cases, a testamentary involves three parties: The trustor (the person who creates the will), the trustee who handles the assets within the trust, and the beneficiary or beneficiaries who are specified in the trust.

Testamentary trusts are also used to handle any charitable donation of assets in harmony with the specific wishes of the trustor.

Will vs. Trust - What's the difference

Deciding what will happen to your estate after your passing is essential, but it doesn’t have to be confusing. At Reddy and Feldhake P.C. we are eager to assist you with your estate planning process. As experienced attornies, we know the ins and outs of estate management and are dedicated to providing honest and personal legal service to the Tulsa area. If you have any questions about wills or trusts, please don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation today.

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