Wills and Trusts

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

  • A traditional will requires court proceedings after death, whereas a trust avoids the court process altogether.
  • A will is a vehicle that informs the probate court of your intentions, wishes and desires with regard to disposing your assets upon your death, and does not operate in case of disability.
  • A trust provides directions regarding your intentions in cases of disability and incapacity.
  • Even though a will identifies the individuals that you wish to act as your agents (known as executors) after your death, it does not dispose of your assets. It does not distribute your assets to your beneficiaries; it only clarifies and identifies who should get what asset.
  • A trust, as part of an estate plan (together with other estate planning documents), operates as the vehicle in disposing your assets during your disability and after your death, so that involvement in the probate court proceedings will be avoided altogether.
  • In short, if you only wish to designate who gets what, a will is sufficient.
  • However, if you wish to eliminate the court process for your beneficiaries, then you are encouraged to create a living trust as part of your estate planning.

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