Difference Between a Trust and a Will

When life happens, you want to be prepared. You want your property to go to the people you trust, your children to have a guardian, and your life to be sorted out in case anything ever happens.

There is a process to go through to make sure everything is in place: You create a trust or a will. While they both initially do the same thing, there are differences that make choosing one over the other an important decision.

Most people go with a will. It has a simpler setup and is cheaper to set up than a trust, but there are important differences that make it the right decision for some people.

If you are trying to decide between a will or a trust, this blog will provide you with further information on the difference between the two. This is an incredibly important decision to make, so you’re going to want someone to guide you through the process so that you have the peace of mind knowing that everything is under control if you were to pass. Contact Susan Gwinn Attorney at Law in Athens today for professional estate planning. Susan Gwinn practices estate planning law throughout southeastern Ohio, including in the counties of Athens, Hocking, Jackson, Meigs, and Vinton.


Can Do’s With a Will

Wills, like trusts, allow you to name a beneficiary for your property. In a will, naming a beneficiary is as simple as listing the property and stating who it will go to, the process is a bit longer when using a trust.

Here is where the will becomes the right choice for you. If you have a child who may need a guardian if anything ever happens to you, a will is the right choice. Even if you go with the trust option, a will may still be needed if your child needs a guardian. It also allows you to name a property manager for the property left to your child.

An executor can be named through a will as well. An executor is important because they are given the responsibility of handling your remaining financial obligations, such as paying taxes and bills or even disposing of property. You can also leave instruction on how taxes and debts should be paid in your will, which will help your executor.

Like stated above, a will is cheaper and simpler to make, but also requires two witnesses at the time of the signing, and their signatures as well. Some states have restrictions on who can be the witness, many states require that they are not the beneficiary.

Can Do’s With a Trust

A trust is not as necessary as a will, it all depends on your age, wealth, and whether you are married. The older and richer you are, the more you should consider a trust. Being unmarried is another reason to consider a trust; your spouse usually shares your assets, which will make a trust less needed.

The biggest benefit of a trust is to avoid probate. Probate is a process the courts go through to distribute your assets, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but probate is often advised to avoid. Time is money and probate can take from one to three years, plus the courts can take as much as 10% of your assets in probate fees, which can be used on a lawyer for different parts of the process.

Avoiding probate isn’t the only reason to go with a trust.

Trusts are kept private even after death, they avoid conservatorship, and they offer a protection against any court challenges. You can also use a trust to leave property to a young child and list the age at which they will own the property. With a will, it is a little more challenging to leave property to a minor.

There are, however, a few requirements with a trust. It requires a notary, someone with the authority to legally write up such documents. The other requirement is a transfer of property. To leave property using a trust, you must transfer that property onto the trust, which is easy with items, but when the property has a titled document you must rename the document, making the owner of the property the trust. This process is not difficult, but it is an extra step you must take.


Count on Susan Gwinn

Not everyone needs a trust, but most everyone needs a will. Look at your assets, your status, and your wealth to determine which is best for you. To see more information on wills and trust, or to begin the estate planning process, don’t hesitate to contact Susan Gwinn, Attorney at Law in Athens, Ohio. She has years of experience and have helped countless clients to prepare their wills or trusts. Again, Susan Gwinn practices law in Southeastern Ohio, serving individuals throughout Athens County and beyond.