Wills vs. Trusts What’s the Difference?

It’s established that estate planning is complicated, and all those terms being thrown around don’t help. Once you better understand the basics, however, the better prepared you’ll be to move forward with the important tasks inherent to estate planning. If you have estate planning questions, concerns, or needs, seek the professional legal guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney in North Carolina today.

Your Will vs. Your Trust

Many people think that the terms will and trust are interchangeable, but they are actually the names of separate estate planning tools. While both tools serve separate purposes, when they work in tandem, it can leave you with a solid estate plan that you can confidently rely upon.

Your will is a legal document that appoints an executor to carry out its terms, and that outlines who will receive your assets upon your death. A trust, on the other hand, is a legal arrangement that can distribute your assets at any time that you designate (at your death, before your death, or at any time in the future) – in accordance with your wishes. Your assigned trustee will hold legal title to your property on behalf of your named beneficiaries – until such time that he or she (or the corporate entity) distributes said property to those beneficiaries.

Your Properties

The properties included in your will and in your trust are typically different in nature, and these distinctions include:


  • The property covered in your will is a property that is in your name only. This excludes marital property and any other properties or assets that you own with someone else, such as a business. In addition, your will cannot contain any property that is already in a trust.
  • The property covered in your trust is limited to that property that you transfer to the trust. This means that you specifically transferred the property in question into the trust’s name.


The Administration of Your Will vs. Your Trust

Upon your death, your will, will move through the probate process, which means that a court will oversee its administration. This includes ensuring that your will is legally valid and that the property included is distributed in accordance with your wishes. In contrast, the trust you’ve created bypasses the probate process, which can save your loved ones the time, frustration, and expense associated with probate. Finally, your trust – unlike your will – will not become part of the public record, thus helping to protect your family’s privacy.

An Experienced North Carolina Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Find Your Best Path Forward

Depending upon your circumstances, it may be that your financial planning needs are better served by either a will or a trust. Often, however, both tools – in conjunction with one another – pThe skilled estate planning attorneys at King Law Firm in North Carolina have the experience and keen foresight to help you create estate planning tools that comfortably cover your needs. Your estate plan is important, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us today.