A will and a trust are two tools you can use in your estate plan. While they have some similarities, these two tools are not the same thing. If you need to work on your estate plans, you should understand what these tools are, how they are similar, and how they are different.
The Similarities Between a Will and a Trust
A will and a trust are both popular tools used by many people in their estate plans. They are similar tools in one way. Both allow you to state your wishes about what happens to your things when you die. You can use a will only or a trust only, but both tools have key purposes. Using both is the best way to handle your estate plans.
The Differences Between a Will and a Trust
The most notable difference with a will and trust is the timing of when they take effect. A will only provides instructions for a person after he or she dies. Therefore, a will takes effect upon death. A trust, on the other hand, is something that takes effect before death. A trust becomes effective in your estate plans as soon as you make it.
A second difference is the way these tools work. When you die and leave a will, your will states where your assets go and who gets them. The only assets that you can control with a will are those that you own yourself. Joint assets are not included. With a trust, you must transfer title of your assets from your name to the name of the trust. These assets now belong to the trust, and you can distribute them to your beneficiaries while you are alive if you want. If you want to wait until you die, the person managing your trust will distribute them.
One more difference between a will and a trust is the way the transfer of assets takes place. With a will, your assets and case must go through probate court before the legal transfer occurs. With a trust, your assets do not have to go through probate, which makes it easier for your beneficiaries to receive your things.
Are you interested in working on a will, trust, or both? If so, you should look for a will and trust attorney in your area. When you find the right one, schedule an appointment, and start working on your estate plans.