What Are the Differences Between a Will and a Trust?

Will and trusts are two of the main legal structures Nevada residents can use to transfer properties and other assets to their families and other beneficiaries following their death. However, wills and trust are two distinctive documents that serve different functions. Learning the differences between a will and a trust is important regardless of your financial state or circumstances.

You need to decide how to incorporate them into your estate plan. Of course, you can hire a Nevada estate planning lawyer well-versed in the local estate laws to take care of the paperwork and processes. However, it doesn’t hurt to do some research of your own.

Therefore, in this post, we’ll provide a simple will vs. trust comparison so you can make more informed decisions when proceeding with your end-of-life planning and have more control over what happens to your assets in the future.

Will vs. Trust – Key Differenced Explained by Experienced Nevada Estate Planning Lawyers

1. Purpose

A will is a legal document created for the sole purpose of setting forth wishes regarding asset distribution, advanced health directives, and post-death guardianship of dependant family members, such as minor children, spouses, and aging parents. Simply put, a will designates what happens to your home, money, and other assets when you die. You need to assign an executor to handle the distribution, funeral arrangements, and other processes.

In contrast, a trust is a legal document used to establish a new fiduciary relationship and legal entity for asset distribution to beneficiaries. In other words, by creating a trust, you become a granter who puts assets in the name of another person (trustee) and gives them full authority over what happens to your assets as long as you’re alive. Many people also use them to reduce estate taxes since trustees technically own the assets.

2. Use Case

A will is mostly used by people with minor children or dependents. These individuals create a will to outline their end-of-life wishes. In contrast, trust is the go-to choice for people who want to transfer assets to beneficiaries while they’re still alive to avoid taxes and probate following their demise.

3. Protection During Incapacity

Wills are created to protect a person’s assets when they die. Therefore, they do not come into effect when they’re incapacitated. Conversely, trusts protect assets while the granter is still alive, even if they’re incapacitated.

4. Level of Privacy

Trusts are designed to bypass probate, meaning asset ownership is rarely challenged in courts. As a result, the granter’s finances are usually kept private. However, wills can be made subject to probate, meaning inheritors can go to court and challenge the content in a public legal process.

Contact a Nevada Estate Planning Lawyer Right Away!

Learning the key differences between a will and a trust is one of the best ways to kick-start your estate planning process. Once you’re done, the next important step is to hire the services of an experienced estate planning attorney specializing in Nevada estate laws to help create your will and/or trust.

The capable Nevada estate planning lawyers at the Bourassa Law Group have the expertise and resources to create a personalized plan encompassing your specific needs. So, give us a call at (800)870-8910 for a free consultation, and let us help you prepare for the aftermath of your demise.

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