Understanding The Differences Between Wills And Trusts

At James A. Jones, Attorney at Law, in Tacoma and Seattle, we are here to provide you with guidance regarding wills, trusts and other estate planning documents. With an understanding of the functions of each estate planning tool, you can make informed decisions about what is best for your family and your finances.

Both Are Important To Your Estate Plan

A will is a fundamental estate planning instrument that allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed upon death. A will also allows you to appoint a personal representative who will handle the administration of your estate. If you have minor children, you can use a will to appoint a guardian for them.

A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person or organization holds wealth or property for the benefit of another. Compared to wills, there are many different types of trusts, and each is designed to achieve different asset protection goals. For instance, a revocable trust (also known as a living trust) can be amended at any time. An irrevocable trust may not be amended but carries greater asset protection capabilities than a revocable trust. A supplemental needs trust allows a person to give money to a person with special needs without the beneficiary losing eligibility for public assistance programs.

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Key differences between wills and trusts include:

  • A will goes into effect upon death, while a trust can go into effect while you are living, upon death or thereafter
  • A will must pass through court-supervised probate, while trusts typically pass outside of this process

An effective estate plan will combine both a will and trusts, allowing them to work together to perform your overall financial goals. We can help you with all of your estate planning needs, including establishing wills and trusts. We will work with you personally to craft an estate plan that is uniquely suited to your family and your overall financial picture.

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To learn more about wills and trusts and how they can help you achieve your estate planning goals,

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