Florida adults know that estate planning is a necessary part of life. Unfortunately, many people get confused about the various terms that are thrown around regarding the topic of estate planning. Two of the most important for people to understand are wills and trusts.
What is a will?
A will, also referred to as a testamentary will or a last will and testament, is a legally enforceable document. This document states how a person’s affairs are to be handled in the event of their death. From instructing how their assets are to be distributed to explaining how they want their funeral or memorial service to be held, a last will and testament provides necessary information for the survivors of the deceased person.
What is a trust?
A trust is another type of estate planning tool that a person can use to give another party authority to handle their assets on their behalf. There are many different types of trusts out there, and each has its own unique purpose. A very common one is a living trust where a person’s property is put into the trust so that when they pass, the beneficiaries of the trust automatically get ownership of the property without going through probate.
The main difference between trusts and wills is that a will is only enforceable upon a person’s death. A trust can be established at any point in time and remain operational throughout the grantor’s life. Both wills and trusts play their necessary roles in the entire estate planning process.
As you read more about the process of estate planning, you’ll commonly come across terms like wills and trusts. An attorney may assist you in understanding these topics in more depth.