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Understanding the Difference Between Wills and Trusts

Although it’s a subject most people tend to avoid, establishing a plan for your belongings and finances in the event of your death is an important conversation to have. When planning an estate, trusts and wills are the two most common documents involved. Determining the difference between the two and deciding which option suits your needs best can be a challenge, which is why hiring an attorney is often in your best interest.

Similarities Between Wills and Trusts

Both wills and trusts have the same primary functions — naming an heir to your property. If this is your only concern, then it doesn’t matter which you choose. It is important to note, however, that non-adult children cannot inherit items of great value. You should name a trustee or custodian until a child is of legal age to inherit.

Clarifying the Details of Trusts

Trusts, in particular, have several distinguishing legal aspects. The most notable is that you can avoid probate, the official court verification process, which is required for wills but not trusts. A trust gives you more confidentiality and may seem more final because it is more challenging to contest. Trusts can also:

  • Maintain your privacy after death
  • Protect your interests from court challenges
  • Require notarization
  • Avoid conservatorship
  • Call for transfer of property

Understanding the Specifics of Wills

A will, on the other hand, offers you the opportunity to make explicit instructions for the handling of your assets. They are simpler to make and do not require notarization, although they do necessitate a witness of some sort. With a will you have the:

  • Ability to name guardians for children
  • Ability to appoint property managers for children if needed
  • Opportunity to designate an executor
  • Power to provide instructions for debts and taxes

Expert Counsel Can Make a Difference

If you’re not sure which option is right for your situation, or if you’re ready to establish your will or trust, contact your Villages Law Firm today for a consultation at 352-775-4739.