Wills and trusts are estate planning tools. Both provide asset protection, permit the naming of beneficiaries, and allow revisions. The transfer of assets becomes more complicated when wealth is passed on to the next generation. For that reason, some people choose to have a will and a trust to make sure their wishes are carried out.
Regardless of whether you want to have only a will or trust, or both, an established wills and trusts law firm in Tallahassee, Florida can develop and customize an estate plan.
What A Will Does?
A will is a written document that expresses a person’s wishes regarding the distribution of their assets. It allows for:
- Specifying an executor or personal representative.
- The naming of a guardian for minor children.
- Identifying family members who inherit objects and cash from the estate.
- Leaving a directive that expresses how the person wants their funeral or memorial to be held.
What A Trust Does?
A trust is another way of transferring assets upon the death of the person who created the trust, also called the trustor. Setting up a trust is a more complicated than writing a will.
Multiple parties are named in the trust: the trustor (the person creating the trust); the trustee (the person responsible for handling the trust after the trustor’s death); a second trustee; and the trust beneficiaries. A trust creates a fiduciary relationship between the trustor and trustee. The trustee oversees the management of the trust and the distribution of assets to the named beneficiaries according to the instructions of the trustor.
A trust does the following:
- Avoids a conservatorship and guardianship.
- Avoids the probate process.
- Maintains privacy after death.
- Protects the trustor from court challenges.
What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Trust?
There are several differences between a will and a trust. One of those is the specific time when each document becomes active. A will only becomes active when the person who wrote the will dies. However, a trust becomes active as soon as it is created, signed, and witnessed.
Another difference is that a will is a public document. Anyone can discover the details of an individual’s estate if they have a will. Because a trust is not a public document, the details are not available to the public.
A will lists the assets of the deceased and declares who gets what. Only assets in their individual name are controlled by their will. A trust operates in the same way regarding who gets what assets; however, unlike a will, the assets must be transferred into the trust. Any property that is not titled in the name of the trust at the time of the person’s death goes through probate.
Everyone should have a will to facilitate the distribution of their property after their death, but not everyone needs to have a trust. However, anyone who has a trust may decide to have a will. If you decide to begin the estate planning process, an experienced probate and trust attorney can develop a plan that protects your interests and those of your loved ones.
Wills and trusts reflect the wishes of those who create them. Often, individuals are unaware of the significant importance of a will and trust. A well-crafted will and trust can protect your assets and indicate precisely how you would want those assets distributed. Planning for the future is an essential part of making sure that your loved ones and assets are protected after you are gone. At The Fredrickson Law Firm, we can ensure that every aspect of your future is secured with a reliable estate plan in place.
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