Estate Planning – Differences between Wills and Trusts:

The terms “will” and “trusts” are often used interchangeably, as if they are the one in the same. However, both are uniquely different and should not be confused with one another. A will and a trust are documents that are prepared in furtherance of the broader category of estate planning. Estate planning is an essential process, recommended for every person to take, in planning for their future and disposition of assets upon their death. An individual’s estate planning varies on each person’s unique situation and varying concerns. 

When considering your estate planning, it is important to know the differences between a will and a trust. For starters, any property that is disposed of by virtue of a will goes through the probate process, while property that was owned by a trust when a person passes away, avoids probate. Probate’s major disadvantages are its related costs and the delay it causes in distributing the estate to your beneficiaries. When property is distributed by use of a will, after you pass away, title to any property owned by you at the time of your passing, passes from you to the estate and its executor. Eventually it passes to the final beneficiaries. The probate court supervises the process. A will does not remain confidential as the original is deposited into the Florida Court’s registry, thereby becoming a public record. A will becomes effective only after you have passed away. A trust on the other hand, initially, will generally name you to serve as trustee and manage the property. If you become disabled or pass away, the successor trustee, or trustees, you named in the trust agreement automatically takes over management of the property. After you pass away, the trust property is managed and distributed according to the terms of the trust. The courts aren’t involved. Your trust remains confidential. A trust, depending on its terms, becomes effective immediately after execution. 

As mentioned, estate planning is a unique process for every individual. It does not need to be an overwhelming process; if you are ready to begin preparing your estate planning or have any other questions please feel free to contact the Law Office of Ray Garcia, P.A., at 305-227-4030.