In the world of estate planning, Wills and Trusts are two of the most common tools that you can use. While they can both help you to plan for the future of your estate, they aren’t interchangeable.
Many people will need to have both a Will and a Trust in place to properly protect themselves, their assets, and most importantly, their loved ones. Take a moment to read through some of the main differences between the two so you can start considering whether you need.
Key Differences Between Wills and Trusts
The following are some of the most important differences between a Will and a Trust:
- When it Takes Effect – A Will takes effect at death. In contrast, a Trust will take effect as soon as it is created.
- Influence – A Trust can be designed to make decisions regarding assets before death, upon death, and after death. Basically, you (and what the state allows) will control when the items in the Trust take effect. A Will’s focus, on the other hand, is to determine what happens to certain assets and other legal matters upon an individual’s death.
- Probate – A Will typically has to go through probate court, whereas a Trust can be set up to avoid probate altogether. Probate court is where a judge will verify a will’s validity or if you don’t have a Will, distribute your assets for you.
- Privacy – Because a Trust doesn’t have to go through probate, it can be kept private from public records. A Will, however, will be a matter of public record because of the fact that it has to go through the probate court. This means that people will be able to see your assets, how much you distributed, and to whom you bequeathed your assets.
- Planning for a Funeral or End of Life Decisions – A Will is an excellent tool for planning your funeral, so your final wishes can be honored. A Trust is not designed to contain this type of thing.
- Naming Guardians – Both a will and a trust may be used to name legal guardians for your minor children.
Focusing on a Full Oklahoma Estate Plan
As you can see, there are some significant differences between a will and a trust, and it is important to understand them well to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need. In most cases, having both a will and a trust in place is the best course of action. Contact Bedlam Law at (405) 232-2444 for a free consultation concerning all your Oklahoma estate planning needs. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible legal advice based on your unique situation, so please get in touch with us right away.