Wills and trusts are two types of estate planning documents that help you protect your assets, honor your loved ones, and design your legacy. But wills and trusts serve different functions in one's overall estate plan. Below, will attorney Mark O. Grater, Attorney at Law, in Groton, CT, discusses some of the key differences between a will and a trust.
A Will Attorney’s Brief Guide to These Estate Planning Options
When They Go Into Effect
One of the biggest factors that separate wills and trusts is when they are enacted. A will only goes into effect upon your death; there is never an instance where the terms of a will would be instituted when the signatory is still living. However, don't confuse this with a living will—another estate planning tool entirely—which allows you to make health care and end-of-life medical treatment decisions. A trust, on the other hand, is typically enacted when you sign it and goes into effect right away.
What Goes Through Probate
All estates must go through a legal administrative process called probate. This involves verifying the validity of the will and overseeing the distribution of assets. But the probate process is avoided entirely for assets placed into the ownership of a trust. This can save considerable time, money, and stress as the courts are not involved and ownership is swiftly transferred from you to your beneficiary.
One advantage of a will is it lets you make special provisions, such as guardianship arrangements for your minor children or plans for your funeral. A trust deals solely with property ownership and the transfer of said property. In this regard, a will is the more versatile document. Estate planning and will attorneys tend to agree that a comprehensive estate plan should include both a will and a trust for maximum protection and efficacy.
Do you need to organize your estate planning documents? Let Mark O. Grater, Attorney at Law, help you craft the legacy you most want to leave your loved ones. He has more than three decades of experience in estate planning, personal injury, bankruptcy, and workers’ compensation matters. Call (860) 449-8059 or visit his website to make an appointment with this will attorney today.