Wills and trusts are each used to give your assets to other people. If, after your death, you do not have these important documents in place, a probate court will decide what happens with your estate and beneficiaries. Dying intestate (without having made a valid will) means that the probate process will take much longer to conclude and transfer property.
Although wills and trusts are related, that is the extent of their similarity—they are very different and serve different purposes:
- A will names your beneficiaries, giving instructions on how to distribute your assets and property after you die. It also allows you to choose an executor and a guardian for your children.
- A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. You can be your own trustee until you pass away.
The articles below cover specific cases where experienced legal document preparation and maintenance would have avoided misunderstandings, animosity among heirs, or problems with probate.