Most people know that a will and a trust are ways to pass on your assets to your heirs, but many people do not understand the difference between a trust and a will. Both a will and a trust are legal documents to protect your loved ones and heirs that must be created following specific procedures in order for them to be legally enforceable. The legal requirements vary state by state.
Your estate plan can include both a will and one or more trusts. The guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney will be essential to make sure your wishes are properly documented.
1. When It Goes Into Effect
The terms of a will go into effect only once you have died. In your will, you appoint a representative to carry out your wishes and manage your estate after your death.
A trust takes effect as soon as you create it. Depending on your wishes, your beneficiaries can receive your assets immediately, in the future, or after your death. The assets of a trust can continue to be given to your heirs for years, even generations.
A will is subject to probate, a lengthy court process that is costly and public.
A trust does not require court review and approval, so it can save money, time and privacy.
3. Public v Private
The contents of a will and the distribution of the estate assets is filed with the court and is public information.
The provisions of a trust are confidential.
There are different benefits of creating a trust versus a will. You need to consider the same estate planning issues for both a trust and a will. An experienced trusts lawyer can examine your situation, the types of trusts that meet your goals, and explain how a trust can help to meet your goals for the future.
If you are planning your estate and have questions about setting up a trust, an experienced trusts lawyer can advise you throughout the process. To talk to a will and trust attorney in Chicago or Lombard about how to make and store your will, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at (630) 382-8063.