Even through they can accomplish similar goals, there are big distinctions between them.

Wills go through probate, while trusts do not. However, it really isn’t that simple. While it is true that ultimately wills and trusts can be used to do many of the same things, there is an important legal distinction between the two, according to the NWI Times in “Estate Planning: Why wills must be recorded.”

A will is just a document with a set of instructions about how an estate’s assets should be distributed and who should be in charge of that distribution. For the instructions to be followed, they must be given legal effect. The only way that can be done is by going to probate and having a judge approve them.

A trust is a separate legal entity when it is formed. Instead of an estate having assets, they are transferred to the trust. A trustee is named to oversee how those assets are handled.

The distinction might seem like a minor one, but it can be critically important in some circumstances.

An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances. They can also inform you on the differences between wills and trusts and how they might benefit you and your loved ones.

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