Both wills and trusts can allow you to transfer wealth to people after you die but here are a few of the many major differences.
Wills can allow you to appoint guardians for your children if you die; trusts can’t.
Wills can allow you to grant unspecified property after you die; trusts usually can’t.
Wills (generally) have to go through court actions called “probate” which take months or years and can cost thousands of dollars; trusts don’t have to.
Wills can be public knowledge so neighbors, family members, or professional con-men can find out what was in the will; trusts can (generally) be privately administrated without disclosing terms to the public.
Wills are governed by very strict state law. If you use the wrong “magic” language in the will, or don’t properly write or witness your will, parts of it or all of it can easily be invalidated. The law can be stupid and unforgiving for people improperly drafting wills.
In spite of the problems of a will, every adult should have a will that is carefully drafted (for complex reasons I won’t go into here).
Trusts (generally) can avoid the costs, complications, and delays of probate.
Trusts (generally) can be used help to avoid some types of taxes.
Trusts can be used to manage and protect a trust maker’s property while he is disabled even before he dies.
Trusts can be used to regulate the transfer of wealth over years, decades or generations. This can be useful to prevent minor children, incompetents, or imprudent recipients (also called beneficiaries) from spending all their “inheritance” too quickly. It can preserve wealth for future generations.
To find out more about how trusts can benefit you, talk to a good estate planning attorney. Peter Wallis, 888-521-4560