Skip to main content
What’s the difference between a will and a trust? Advice from wills and trusts lawyers in Nashville, TN
December 14, 2020 at 8:00 AM
What’s the difference between a will and a trust? Advice from wills and trusts lawyers in Nashville, TN

If you’re interested in getting your estate plan in order, you may be wondering: “What’s the difference between a will and a trust?” Wills and trusts are both essential documents for estate planning, but they have different functions. Depending on your goals, you may need both.

At the Law Office of Morgan Dale, which handles wills and trusts in Nashville, TN, we’ve guided many people through the estate planning process. In this article, we’re explaining the key differences between wills and trusts:

What is a will?

A will is an estate planning document that states how you want your affairs to be handled when you die, and how you want your assets to be distributed. It not only ensures your preferences are carried out after your death, but it can make things much easier for your family during a time that can be difficult.

For instance, if you have minor children, a will can appoint guardianship for your children. If your will does not appoint a guardian for your minor children, then your family will have to seek the court’s help. If your family goes this route, the person appointed by the court may not be the person you’d want to entrust raising your kids.

Similarly, a will can determine the distribution of assets. Without this in place, the distribution of your assets will be up to the court to decide. Our wills and trusts attorneys in Nashville, TN, recommend setting up a will so you can avoid potential issues between family members.

What is a trust?

Like a will, a trust is another method of estate transfer, but it functions differently. In simple terms, setting up a trust allows you to authorize another party to handle your assets for your beneficiaries. While a will goes into effect upon your death, a trust immediately becomes the owner of your assets (inside the trust) the moment the trust is created.

There are many different types of trusts, but irrevocable trusts are the most common in estate planning. As the name suggests, irrevocable trusts cannot be revoked. Once you put assets or property into the trust for a beneficiary, they cannot be removed.

Is a will or trust right for me?

To summarize, a will is a document that can:

  • Set forth your wishes regarding funeral arrangements.
  • Appoint a guardian for your minor children.
  • Distribute your assets and property according to your wishes upon your death.

Our wills and trusts experts in Nashville, TN, believe that everyone can benefit from setting up a will. That said, certain individuals should consider setting up a trust as well. We recommend trusts to those who have large amounts of assets.

For example, a trust can allow you to:

  • Give beneficiaries access to a professionally managed account containing assets set aside for them.
  • Make detailed provisions for the use of your estate, such as covering educational expenses for beneficiaries up to a certain age, making charitable donations every year, etc.
  • Keep your family’s finances private, since trusts do not go through the probate process.
  • Reduce tax liabilities for your family.

Speak with our attorneys regarding wills and trusts in Nashville, TN

At the Law Office of Morgan Dale, we understand that estate planning is personal. That’s why we’ll take the time to fully understand your needs and goals. Let us provide peace of mind through personalized estate planning.

Contact us today and schedule a consultation with our wills and trusts lawyers in Nashville, TN.