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What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Trust?


A will and a trust both serve as effective legal arrangements. But, both arrangements offer a variety of differences and, as such, it’s likely that one arrangement is better than the other, with regards to your wishes.

By being aware of the differences between the two arrangements, and speaking with an estate planning lawyer, you can determine which arrangement is right for you. 

What Is A Will? 

A will is defined as the following: a legal document that states an individual’s wishes and instructions for the management, and distribution, of their estate, after their death.

Every will can, and should, contain the names of your heirs and, in turn, the assets of yours that you would like those heirs to inherit. By putting the names of those heirs, and your assets, in your will, you can ensure that those heirs receive those assets in the event of your death.

Outside of the distribution of your assets, a will can contain instructions regarding specific post-life decisions. Some of these post-life decisions are as follows:

  • The individual that will serve as the guardian for your minor children.
  • The individual that will serve the executor of your estate.
  • Where you are to be buried.
  • Whether or not you are to be cremated.
  • The individual who will serve as the trustee for your estate.

Every single one of those decisions, along with a wide variety of others, can be clarified within your will. By doing so, you can ensure that your desires and wishes are met, in the event of your death. 

What Is A Trust? 

A trust is defined as the following: a legal arrangement that allows a specific set of assets to be transferred from an individual’s estate to a designated trustee.

Right after a designated trustee receives the assets granted to them, through the trust, they can manage the trust and distribute the assets within the trust in a manner that aligns with your wishes.

Even though a trust is similar to a will, there are a multitude of unique differences between the two.

But, with that being said, the basic function is quite similar: to ensure that specific individuals receive specific assets, in the event of your death. 

What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Trust? 

Even though a will is quite similar to a trust, and vice versa, there are a variety of key differences that set the two apart from one another. Some of these key differences are as follows:

  • A will goes into effect when you die, but a trust goes into effect when it’s signed.
  • The assets within a will must go through probate, when you pass away, but the assets within a trust do not.
  • A will is a matter of public record and anyone can access the contents of a will, but a trust is private.
  • The assets within a will can only be those that are in your name, while any asset that’s been put into the trust can be distributed.
  • A will directs the distribution of assets, but a trust requires that a trustee manage, and then, distribute your assets.

Given the differences above, a will and a trust each offer their own benefits. Some of these benefits may be aligned with your wishes and others, while others may not.

Speak With A Florida Estate Planning Attorney 

No matter your age or situation, you should have either a will or a trust. Speak with a Florida estate planning attorney at the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group and we will assist you in determining which legal arrangement is right for you.




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