Experienced Wills & Trusts Attorney Helping Mount Vernon Families Manage Their Estates
Wills and trusts are both used to designate who receives your assets and when, but are different in several key ways. Both allow you to name people or organizations who have a claim to your assets, whether they be cash, stocks, property, or other valuables. Gilbert & Gilbert Lawyers has been helping Skagit County families manage their assets since 1921.
Wills vs. Trusts
The biggest difference between a will and a trust is the time when each takes effect. Wills only apply when the owner of the estate dies, whereas a trust becomes effective immediately upon its creation.
Only wills are subject to probate because they apply only when someone has passed away. Trusts are not subject to the probate process, as they solely bestow ownership of an asset to someone else, therefore they do not belong to the estate.
Furthermore, wills can only include assets or property that are solely owned. Joint assets cannot be included in wills for the reason that the owners likely won’t pass away at the same time.
What is a Trust?
A trust is essentially an asset distribution and management system. When you establish a trust, you grant ownership of the asset to someone else, typically a bank or law firm. The bank or law firm becomes the trustee and holds the title of the asset. You become the beneficiary, meaning you still have your assets even though they are being managed by the trustee.
Trusts are often used to provide income for yourself or your spouse on a pre-arranged basis, as opposed to having all of your funds available for personal use or debt collection. Many people establish trusts to distribute assets to their family members without forcing them to take on the burden of financial management.