Purposeful Advocacy for New Jersey
A Path Forward for Your Finances, Your Family, & Your Future

What Are the Differences Between a Will and A Trust?

When people reach the end of their lives, they usually have assets that they cherish and want to pass on to loved ones. This is why it is important for them to be proactive and create an estate plan that allows them to do so. With an estate plan, an individual is able to prepare for what will happen to their assets in the event of their death. This allows them to pass on real estate, bank accounts, securities, and personal items. There are many options in creating an estate plan, including a written will or a trust. An experienced attorney can guide an individual through creating a will that is best for them and their loved ones.

What Is a Will?

Many people choose to write a will when creating an estate plan. This is a legal document that outlines a plan for what happens to the individual’s assets after they pass away. Writing a will can relieve any stress or concerns about what would happen to these assets if there was not a plan. This document also ensures these belongings end up in the hands of the people that they choose. This helps to avoid conflicts between loved ones if they disagree about who they believe the assets belong to. If it is in the deceased’s writing, it is set in stone.

If a person dies without a will, it is called dying “intestate.” When this happens, the individual’s assets become the property of the state of New Jersey. This means the assets the state can distribute them based on a schedule of succession to determine who the assets belong to. These decisions are based on a person’s relation to the deceased.

What Is a Trust?

Another way an individual can manage their estate is through a trust. A trust is a contract between the estate and a trustee. The person who receives the trust is a beneficiary. The individual who manages it is known as a trustee. This arrangement allows a trustee to hold the assets on behalf of the beneficiary.

There are benefits to setting up a trust rather than a will. Trusts avoid probate, whereas a will does not. Probate determines the validity of a will. Without probate, a beneficiary can gain access to the assets sooner than they would with a will. Through a trust, the owner of the estate, can control their wealth and decide who the assets will go to. This ensures their properties go to those of their choosing. There are several different types of trusts that may be created in New Jersey. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Revocable Trust

  • Irrevocable Trust

  • Asset Protection Trust

  • Inter Vivos Trust

  • Life Insurance Trust

  • Testamentary Trust

  • Special Needs Trust

  • Supplemental Needs Trust

  • Generation-Skipping Trusts

  • Charitable Remainder and Charitable Leads Trusts

Contact Our Firm

If you wish to create an estate plan and are seeking a legal representative to guide you through the process, contact Velasco Law Office today.

Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who concentrates on bankruptcy, family law, real estate, and estate matters who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 25 years. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.