Are there differences between a will and a trust? Can you break it down?
After someone has died, the process is: If somebody has nothing in place, we’re going to go through probate. Probate’s going to take a year and it is going to be expensive, 5% to 10% of your estate sometimes. It’s public, and you have no control.
The second scenario is somebody comes in and they have a will. A will’s a great document that says who gets what when you die and who’s in charge of making that happen. This gives control. The problem is you’re still going through probate because it’s just a document that you put in a drawer even though it’s a powerful document.
A will can be officially drafted or it can be something a family member just wrote down on a piece of paper. There are many ways to make a will legal, but it all has the same effect of making sure that your family’s going to have to go through probate. And the only people that are happy about that are probate lawyers.
The next question is how do you get control over the will? How do you avoid the publicity, the length of time, and the cost of probate?” That’s when a living trust comes in. A living trust, just like a will, is a document that says who gets what when you die and who’s in charge of making that happen. The difference is because it simplistically takes ownership of property, the court has nothing to say about it after someone dies. All of the time and expense is eliminated. That is what we do; keep families out of an unnecessarily long process in probate.
If you have a will, you are still going to go through probate, but if you have trust, then there is not going to be any probate.