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When you are getting ready to create your estate plan, you may find that there are an overwhelming number of options available for you to choose from. However, one thing that many are unsure of is the difference between a living trust and a will. If you’re considering creating one over the other, you’ll want to keep reading to learn more about these options, how they differ and why it’s in your best interest to connect with a Pasco County, FL wills & trusts attorney who can provide you with further guidance.

What Is the Purpose of a Living Trust?

A living trust is a form of trust fund that allows you to manage assets before and after your passing. Like a typical trust, the creator will transfer the assets to be held in the fund. However, they can continue to manage and distribute assets as the trustee. Upon the owner’s passing, the trust will become irrevocable and will transfer to the ownership of the successor trustee.

How Do These Differ from Wills?

Unlike a will which takes effect upon the passing of the creator, a living trust takes effect as soon as it is created. By creating a living trust, you can name yourself as the trustee, which allows you to remain in control of these assets over the course of your lifetime. Additionally, you can create terms and conditions so your beneficiaries can receive assets while you are still alive. This differs greatly from a will, which only distributes assets to your beneficiaries after you pass.

Another considerable difference between these two options is that living trusts do not go through probate whereas wills do. Probate can be an incredibly complex and time-consuming process, as it requires the courts to validate the will of a deceased person and oversee the distribution of their assets. However, assets held in living trusts do not go through probate as the assets are immediately transferred to your successor trustee upon your death, which leads many to place a considerable amount of assets in a trust.

Which One Is Right for Me?

If you’re unsure which option is right for you, it’s important to consider establishing both. A will is arguably one of the most important estate planning tools you can create, as it helps ensure your property is accounted for. This helps prevent the state from taking control of your assets and distributing them according to Florida’s intestate law of succession.

Additionally, creating a will allows you to name guardians for your children and appoint someone to execute your estate after your passing, which you cannot do with a living trust.

As you can see, there are many considerations you’ll need to make during the estate planning process, which is why it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna. We understand how complicated these times are which is why we can work with you to explore your options so you can achieve peace of mind that your loved ones and assets will be protected. Contact us today to learn more.