What is the difference between a trust and a will?

While many people don't like to think about end-of-life planning, it's one of those tasks where it's better to be well-prepared, than not prepared at all. The probate process ensures that a decedent's creditors are paid and that assets are distributed accordingly - and creating a will and a trust can make it easier for the loved ones a decedent leaves behind.

Planning one's estate begins with understanding the terms associated with the process. For example, what is the difference between a will and a trust? For starters, a trust indicates who is responsible for managing the assets in a trust, and what level of power they have. In addition, a trust also specifies how a person's assets will be divided. A will also specifies how assets will be divided, but a trust distributes assets outside of the probate process.

Oftentimes, attorneys, appraisers, executors and filing fees are all part of the probate process. These expenses need to be taken care of before heirs can receive their assets. In order to cut down on some of those expenses, a trustor must remember to actually deposit the assets into the trust. Keeping track of which assets are meant for the trust can make things easier.

Oklahoma residents who are thinking about the probate and administration process may find it helpful to speak with an estate planning attorney. Whether loved ones are dealing with monetary assets, personal property or special gifts, the right legal advice can help individuals properly execute wills and trusts, making end-of-life planning a little less stressful.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "The Crucial Difference Between Wills and Trusts," Michelle Perry Higgins, Jan. 5, 2015

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