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Estate Planning FAQs: What is the difference between a will and a trust?

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Firm News

A will (often called a Last Will and Testament) is a set of instructions that allow you to distribute your assets upon your death. You can also set up guardianship for your minor children. Once the instructions in the will have been carried out, the will ceases to exist.

A trust is a fiduciary relationship with respect to property in which a trustee holds legal title to trust property for the benefit of another person, the beneficiary. A trust is said to “own” the property that is transferred in to the trust.Although a will and a trust can be used to distribute property when you die, a trust gives you many more options than does a will. A trust can be used to manage property during your lifetime, whereas a will merely distributes your property when you die. A trust can also be used to manage your property after you die (think family cottage or trust fund), whereas a will is used to distribute property at death, at which time the will ceases to exist.