What Is The Difference Between A Will & A Trust?

online_estate_planning_coupleThe differences between a will and trust are important to consider for your family’s sake. Though they seem similar on the surface, the details of each can result in very different outcomes. Depending on your needs, having one or both can save your loved ones time and money. Have you thought of what will happen when you’re no longer here?

You can have peace of mind knowing that Sherer Law has the details of your estate and final wishes in order.

What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that is carried out through the oversight of a legal representative or attorney. A will covers matters such as:

? Legal guardianship of children
? Funeral arrangements
? All property and legal assets in your name (*not property in joint tenancy or in a trust)

When and How Does it Take Effect?
The will takes effect only after death. Once that has occurred, probate begins. Probate is the legal administration of the court to ensure the will is valid and executed in accordance to your wishes. With the court’s supervision, the legal representative, or your ?Executor,? sees to the following:

? Inventory and appraisal of assets
? The notification of creditors
? The processing and settlement of claims
? The payment of all taxes
? The transaction of legal matters
? The distribution of property and assets

Probating a will takes 5-6 months minimum, and it usually takes even longer. Funeral arrangements and unfinished legal disputes can leave your family with stressful expenses. You should try to be prepared and leave your family prepared for what the future may have in store.

What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement. A person called the ?trustee? holds the legal title to any property or assets you wish to entrust to them. Your trustee can be a friend, relative, bank, or institution. A trust regards the following matters:

? Your choice whether or not to be kept alive artificially in the event of terminal illness or injury
? Limits set regarding medical bills
? Plans for disability
? Provision to save on taxes
? All property and assets put in the name of the trustee

How and When Does it Take Effect?
A trust takes effect as soon as it’s created. You may wish to distribute property before death, at death, or after. Any of these are allowed with a trust. At the appointed time, the trustee oversees distribution of property and assets. The trustee oversees all non-legal matters whenever necessary according to your wishes, as outlined in the trust. The court is not involved, which leaves costs much more affordable. While a will is put on public record, a trust may be kept private.

As you can see, wills and trusts are quite different, and both serve important purposes in comprehensive estate plans. A will and trust can work side by side for maximum effectiveness.

If you would like to speak to an attorney about how to best use a will and trust in your estate plan, please contact the experts at Sherer Law Offices.

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