The Difference Between a Will and a Trust
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The Difference Between a Will and a Trust

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By Brian Tanko

When doing estate planning, one of the questions clients often ask is, “what is the difference between a will and a trust?” Both wills and trusts are valuable and essential tools intended to provide information and details on your exact wishes pertaining to your care, property, estate, the distribution of your assets, and more. The primary difference between the two is that a last will and testament will only go into effect upon your death, whereas a trust will go into effect immediately. A will is a legal document you can use to:

  • Name the executor of your estate upon your death,
  • Dictate how your property and assets will be distributed and to whom they will go,
  • Specify you wishes as to your funeral arrangements, and
  • Set up guardianship for yourself, your minor children or any special needs children.

Wills provide no protection in the event you become mentally or physically incapacitated and unable to act on your own accord. If that were to happen to you, it could present numerous legal problems for your family and loved ones. They might not end up getting the property or assets you intended they receive either. Before a will can be executed it must go through probate where the court will see to its validity and then oversee the administration of the will. A will also becomes public record for all to see.

If you would rather keep your personal affairs private, a trust may better suit your needs as trusts can be executed without having to go through probate. This not only can save you time and money, but it will also help see that your personal wishes as to your care and the distribution of your property or assets will remain private. A trust is a legal agreement established between you and your appointed trustee for the purpose of:

  • Placing all of your assets and property in a trust that will be administered according to your wishes by your chosen trustee,
  • Clearly stating your wishes as to the distribution of your assets and property, either prior to your death or afterwards,
  • Setting up guardianship for yourself, your minor children or any special needs children,
  • Providing instructions for your care should you become physically or mentally incapacitated,
  • Avoiding the delays and expenses associated with having to go through probate, and more.

To find out about how you can benefit from having a will or trust as part of your estate planning, we recommend you contact a Las Vegas estate planning lawyer at The Law Offices of Brian C. Tanko today. Our firm has more than 18 years experience practicing law and we have helped countless individuals draft the wills and trusts they needed to protect their assets. When you come to our firm, we will answer any questions you may have, advise you of the options best suited to your needs and help you protect your assets and your future.

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