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Wills vs Trusts: Which one is right for you?

Defining a Will and Trust

Wills are more commonly known than trusts, though each type of document provides different services. In a will, the individual outlines what his or her estate includes, assigns an individual to oversee the dispersal of those items, and names the heirs to the estate. In addition to outlining what assets will go to each heir, a will can also detail the final wishes of the individual. For instance, it may establish trusts, designate charitable contributions, or leave custody requests for the care of minor children.

Conversely, a living trust, which can also be set up through a will lawyer, such as Robert B Walker, is managed by a trustee. The trustee manages how beneficiaries receive payments or assets, as outlined by the grantor. There are two types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. In a revocable trust, changes can be made by the grantor up until his or her death. Upon the death, the trust becomes irrevocable, meaning that changes can no longer be made.

 

The Differences Between a Will and a Trust

One of the biggest advantages to a trust is that it doesn't pass through probate, which means assets are protected and heirs receive their inheritance sooner. Upon one's death, the assets outlined in a will may be liquidated to cover the debts and taxes owed. This may require court proceedings to contest creditor claims, verify the will's legitimacy, or identify beneficiaries. 

Additionally, wills become accessible by the public, once they go through probate. Anyone can go to the courthouse to see which individual received the assets. On the other hand, a trust does not become a part of public records, so any information contained within them remains private. However, if there's a cause to contest the trust, a lawsuit will result in the trust becoming publicly accessible.

This brief overview outlines the major differences between a will and a trust. To gain a more thorough understanding of these legal documents, consulting a trust attorney may be a good place to start. A legal professional experienced in estate planning, such as Robert B Walker, can help you understand how the different types of documents will apply to your situation. This will help you determine which type of document is best for your circumstances.