Estate planning can be confusing. How do you know whether you need a will vs a trust? You have been hearing it for most of your adult life, at least since you first bought a house or had children: You need to have a will in place. What if you found out that there is an even better way to transfer your property to your heirs? Basically you have two choices: a will vs a trust.

A living trust does such a good job of keeping your assets safe and distributing them to your chosen beneficiaries that it might reduce your will to a mere formality. A trust can also avoid probate. A will states your wishes but your estate may require a court probate process to settle. Whether you decide to write a will, set up a living trust, or both, there is no need to hire a lawyer to get your affairs in order. Instead, the best person to prepare your estate planning documents, including wills and trust documents, is a California registered legal document assistant. Read on to learn more about wills vs. trusts.

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…or continue reading the article below to learn more about Wills vs. Trusts and how they are different.

Will vs Trust at a Glance

You want to set up your estate plan and are considering a will vs trust. The main thing that wills and trust documents have in common is that they determine who receives the author’s property after the author dies. When considering a will vs trust, these are some features of wills that make them different from trusts:

  • A will does not go into effect until the author dies.
  • A will requires signing by the author in front of two witnesses.
  • The instructions in the will are carried out in probate, a semi-public venue in court.

When considering a will vs trust, these are some features of trusts that make them different from wills:

  • A trust goes into effect as soon as you create it. The trust document also includes instructions about who will manage the property in the trust after you die.
  • The trust document specifies who can manage the assets in the trust (it can be you or someone else), as well as who can receive money from it.
  • The beneficiaries can start receiving money from the trust while you are alive.
  • Assets in a trust do not need to go through probate.
  • A living trust document does not require witnesses, just your signature.

What About Wills?

Yes, there are differences between a will vs a trust but did you also know there are different types of wills? Many people who set up living trusts write a pour-over will at the same time. A pour-over will states that, when the author of the will dies, all of his or her property will pass to the trust he or she has set up. A pour-over will is mostly a formality, but it is a good idea to have one if you have a trust. Most people who create living trusts transfer some or all of their property to them; any property that has been placed in a trust legally belongs to the trust, not the person. It is not part of the estate, so it does not need to go through probate.

If you do not have or need a trust, a standard will be be sufficient. This type of will designates who will receive your assets at death and who will manage your estate. Depending on the size of estate, your estate may need to be probated in order for the beneficiaries to receive their share of your estate.

A People’s Choice Prepares Living Trust Documents, Wills and Estate Documents at Reasonable Prices

Now that you know about wills vs trust, you can prepare to get your estate plans in order. Did you know you can set up a living trust without hiring an estate planning lawyer? Having a registered legal document assistant prepare your estate planning documents, including wills and trusts, is an affordable alternative to hiring a lawyer, where you would have to pay steep hourly fees. Whether you choose to settle your estate through a will vs trust,  A People’s Choice offers living trust packages, including pour-over wills and other estate documents, for individuals and couples. Call us today at 800-747-2780.

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