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Estate planning in Florida may seem stressful, but understanding the fundamental difference between basic documents may make the process easier. Going into a planning session armed with pertinent information can help expedite the drafting process.

Wills and trusts are two such implements that may seem confusing. They are often mistaken for each other when they both perform very different roles as part of a complete estate plan. At L. Bruce Swiren, P.A., we aim to give you the tools to assist in making the best choices for your family’s future.

Wills and trusts provide different benefits

A will is the most basic way to make your last wishes known. It triggers upon death, and unless it is a joint will with a survivor, it goes through the probate process before administration by the executor. A trust is a more immediate way to pass an inheritance to heirs. It does not have to go through probate, and the assets within it can move directly to the named beneficiaries. While there is one type of will, there are three common trusts to choose from: irrevocable, living and revocable. Each of these has a different structure and comes with unique benefits.

Property contained in each is different

The type of property and assets in wills and trusts is also different. A will can only distribute personal property not jointly held. Wills also do not address items that have beneficiaries attached, such as insurance policies or retirement accounts. Trusts may contain any property or asset, including those with beneficiaries.

When considering creating estate documents, understanding differences in documents is critical. If you would like more insight into the process, please feel free to visit our webpage.