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What’s the difference between wills and trusts? A Tampa, FL, law firm explains

At Candela Law Firm, our attorneys often recommend wills and trusts for those who want to ensure their assets are appropriately distributed after their passing. While both of these documents can create a complete estate plan, they have very different purposes and legal effects.

Below, we’re exploring the main differences between wills and trusts, their benefits, and why you might consider them.

What is a will?

A will is a legal document that fully outlines how you want your assets and property to be distributed after you pass. This can include a wide range of property and assets, such as liquid cash, real estate, business ownership, jewelry, and family heirlooms. It can also direct the care of your minor children after your death.

Why to consider a will

A will can help your family avoid a great deal of legal complications after you pass. Here are some of the top benefits of creating a will:

  • Decide guardianship for children: If you have minor children, then creating a will is a must. In the absence of a will, the court will decide who will raise your minor children after you die.

  • Avoid family disagreements: In the event you die without a will in place, this can create a potentially awkward situation for your family. Some family members may feel entitled to certain assets; but, without anything in writing, it will be difficult to come to a fair decision. A will is a legally binding document that can state in full detail your preferences about how your assets and property will be distributed.

  • Save time and money for your family: Although all estates have to go through the probate process, having a will can greatly speed this up. This will save your family time and money in the long run.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal document that creates an arrangement between a person or entity and a beneficiary. In other words, a trust allows a beneficiary to hold legal title to another’s property.

For example, some people set up trusts so that a family member can receive income and draw money from an account to support themselves.

While a will goes into effect after you die, a trust goes into effect immediately. Another key difference between wills and trusts is that trusts do not go through probate. This means that the court does not oversee the process of creating a trust.

Why to consider a trust

Trusts aren’t always needed, but in some situations, they have advantages over wills. Here are some of the top reasons for creating a trust:

  • Managing assets: Your beneficiaries might not be able to properly manage the assets they receive from you. Setting up a trust ensures the assets are properly managed in your absence, while still allowing your beneficiaries to access the money they are entitled to.

  • Privacy: Since trusts do not pass through probate, they do not become public record. This is an ideal option if you have concerns about privacy.

  • Avoid probate: As mentioned above, the court does not oversee the creation of trusts. This means that you can arrange for your beneficiaries to immediately have access to your property or assets. Your family can also avoid some legal fees and paperwork when you pass.

Speak to an attorney about wills and trusts in Tampa, FL

Are you considering setting up a will or trust? The legal team at Candela Law Firm would be happy to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Tampa, FL.

Difference between wills and trusts according to Tampa FL law firm