How A Will and Trust Are Different

Knowing the functional difference of a Will versus a Trust can help you make the best estate planning decisions for your needs. Learn more about how the documents differ to determine the most appropriate tool for your estate planning needs. How A Will and Trust Are Different How A Will and Trust Are Different

Public Record vs. Privacy

A person's Last Will and Testament, once filed in a probate court, is public record.  Trusts are private documents which are not filed with a Probate court and are not public record.  If your estate is large, or you simply prefer to protect your privacy, a trust can effectively complete your final wishes while protecting the privacy of the details of your assets and beneficiaries.  However, if your estate is modest and privacy is not a concern, a Last Will and Testament is a safe and effective document to achieve your estate planning goals.

Court-Supervised Administration vs. Private Administration 

If a person dies with a Will and assets in his name alone, an estate needs to be opened to settle the person's final affairs.  Estate administration cannot begin until the legal representative of the estate is appointed by the court and accepts the fiduciary duties as defined by the court.  Most often, the court will appoint the person nominated to be the Executor in the Will.  The court supervises the conduct and administration of the estate to ensure the terms of the Last Will and Testament, and any statutory requirements are fulfilled

Conversely, when a person dies with a trust, his or her assets are usually titled in the name of the trustee of a trust.  In order to proceed with the administration of the trust, the Trustee would proceed according to the trust provisions.  There is no requirement or need for court-appointed authority to act as Trustee or Successor Trustee of a trust.  Typically, the trust language will contain specific details relative to a Trustee's authority for the administration of the trust.  There is no court supervision of the administration of a trust.  The Trustee is statutorily obligated to fulfill his or her duties according to law and the provisions of the specific trust. 

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Inefficient vs. Efficient

Finally, the efficiency of estate and or trust administration depends on multiple factors.  However, typically speaking, estate administration through a probate court can be lengthy and costly due to the specific statutory requirements which must be followed.  Estate administrations conducted through a probate court will incur filing fees, attorneys' fees, and fiduciary fees. 

Trust administrations can be completed without waiting for any statutory time requirements or restrictions.  Further, trust administrations will not incur any filing fee expenses.  As a result, the incurred attorney and fiduciary fees are minimized.  However, it should be noted, this is not always the case.  For instance, there are many scenarios which could lead to a probate court's involvement with the administration of a trust.  In which case, the associated fees and costs can quickly rise. 

To learn more about estate planning and the difference between a Will and Trust, and to find out which is best for your needs call (440) 530-3605 today, to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney at The DiCello Law Firm.

This information is provided as a service and courtesy of The DiCello Law Firm and is not intended as legal advice.  You should consult an attorney to discuss your specific questions and/or concerns.

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