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Differences Between Wills and Trusts

Many attorneys advocate that clients establish trust whenever possible, as opposed to wills. You should definitely have some formal written instrument that gives instructions for the disposition of your property. What type of instrument you choose depends on your circumstances.

Trusts are created when you are alive, and there are numerous types of trust arrangements. The document establishing the trust contains instructions for the property and how it is to be divided. The trust document names a trustee who has responsibilities according to law to act in the interest of the trust. The trust goes into operation at the moment it is established by the document and property is transferred into it. A trust does not need probate to authenticate it because it is already operating and continues to do so. The property is already out of your name and in the name of the trust. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement as opposed to a legal document. Finally, a trust is a private arrangement that does not become part of the public record.

When you have a will, it needs to go through the probate process because it needs to be authenticated first. A will contains instructions that are executed once you die, and the document goes through the probate process. The property remains in your name until it is divided and transferred in the probate process. A will is a publicly-available document that remains on record with the court.

Contact a St Johns County Estate Planning Attorney Today

An experienced estate planning attorney will explain the difference between a will and a trust and work with you to determine which is better for your situation. To learn more about how an estate planning attorney can help you, contact the lawyers at Naples & Spence online or call us at 904.657.7117.