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By: Roberto Vazquez

How Are Wills and Trusts Different?

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You shouldn’t think that estate planning is exclusively for the elderly or the affluent. If you have a home or a business, or if you provide for your family in central Florida, speak promptly with an Orlando estate planning lawyer about establishing a will or a trust.

There is no one-size-fits-all estate planning strategy. No trust, will, or plan will be appropriate for every person in Florida. The specifics of your own estate plan will depend on your assets and properties, your business, your family, and your overall financial situation.

For many Floridians, a trust provides substantial, practical advantages. Others may gain no real benefit from a trust. Instead, those persons should prepare a will for their loved ones. How do trusts and wills differ? What’s best for you and your family? Keep reading for some answers.

What Is Probate?

Trusts are not subject to probate. Wills, however, are subject to this expensive and lengthy process. Probate is a judicial process, and the details of a will become available to the public. Trusts protect your privacy.

The probate process inventories and evaluates an estate’s properties and assets, pays the estate’s outstanding taxes and debts, and transfers what remains of the properties and assets to the decedent’s heirs based on the instructions in the will.

Probate entails paying an executor’s fee, an attorney’s fee, an appraiser’s fee, court costs, and sometimes other expenses. However, it’s not difficult to avoid probate in Florida. You can avoid probate by preparing a trust with the help of an Orlando estate planning lawyer.

How Do Trusts and Wills Work?

In some ways they’re alike, but in other ways, wills and trusts are quite different documents. A living trust, for instance, can be used to manage and distribute your property and assets not only after you’ve passed away but also while you’re alive – and as soon as you put it into effect.

The property you transfer into a trust legally belongs to the trust and no longer is a part of your estate. After you’re gone, a trustee you have named – and not a probate court – can easily and quickly pay your debts and taxes, transfer what remains to your designated heirs, and close your estate.

What’s best for you? You may decide to own your assets in your name and distribute the assets with your will, or a trust can own the assets, and the trust document will govern their distribution.

Let Us Advise You

Wills usually cost less to prepare than trusts, but after you sign either type of document, it should be periodically reviewed and updated. Estate planning requires serious time and consideration.

A will or a trust that is drafted in haste could cause a long, noisy, and bitter legal dispute after your death. No one wants that.

Our law firm offers practical guidance and valuable estate planning insights. You might not know about some of the estate planning options available to you, but our team will clearly explain all of your options and alternatives.

We cannot know what tomorrow may bring, but you can plan wisely, beginning today. To learn more about wills and trusts or to prepare either of these documents, contact us in Orlando by calling 407-426-7222.