What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?

It is important for a person to create an estate plan at some point throughout their life. This allows them to prepare for what will happen to their assets after their life is over. The plan ensures these cherished belongings are protected and passed down to their rightful beneficiaries. This can include assets such as real estate, bank accounts, securities, and personal items. It is important to know that there are different ways this goal can be accomplished. Two common ways to pass assets down to loved ones can include a will or a trust. An experienced attorney can guide individuals through creating an estate plan that is best for them and their loved ones.

What is a Will?

When a person creates an estate plan, they may wish to write a will. This is a legal document that allows an individual to outline what they want to happen to their assets when they die. This can prevent any concerns about how they would be handled should they be left unmanaged or unplanned for. It also ensures the belongings do not end up in the wrong hands, but in the hands of those of their choosing. This helps to avoid any conflicts between loved ones that may believe they are entitled to some assets over others. 

If a person passes away without a will, they are known as dying “intestate.” When this happens, their assets can be distributed by the state of New York. In doing so, the state usually follows a schedule of intestate succession to determine who the assets belong to. This is based on a person’s relation to the deceased. 

What is a Trust?

Another way to manage assets in an estate plan is with the creation of a trust. This is a contract between the estate and a trustee. A trustee is a person that manages a trust for the individual who benefits from the trust, also known as a beneficiary. This arrangement allows a trustee to hold the deceased’s assets for the beneficiary.

There are many benefits that come along with setting up a trust. A trust avoids probate, which makes it possible for a beneficiary to gain access to these assets faster than they would with a will. In addition to this, it allows a trustor, the individual who creates the estate, the opportunity to control their wealth by deciding who the assets are distributed to. This also ensures their properties do not end up in the wrong hands. There are numerous different types of trusts that may be created in New York. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Revocable Trust
  • Irrevocable Trust
  • Life Insurance Trust
  • Testamentary Trust
  • Special Needs Trust

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.

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