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Differences Between Wills and Trusts

Trusts, Wills | February 6, 2020

Understanding the difference between wills and trusts will help you make informed estate planning decisions. Whether you are looking to create a will or trust, the experienced team at Linley Welwood can help. Our wills, estates, and trusts lawyers can help you plan and implement a will or trust, while avoiding any potential pitfalls.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that provides instructions on how you want your financial and material assets to be distributed after you die. In your will you can appoint an executor, name beneficiaries, designate guardians for your children, and leave specific instructions on how and when the beneficiaries will receive their inheritance.

A will often needs to go through probate before the executor can move forward with the instructions outlined in the will. Probate is a court process that ensures a will is real and valid.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal tool by which assets are held by a trustee for the benefit of specified beneficiaries. There are various types of trusts and there are multiple benefits to creating trusts. One of the benefits to trusts is their ability to protect assets from probate fees. Since assets within a trust fall outside of a person’s estate, assets within a trust are exempt from probate fees and are protected from wills variation claims. In addition to these benefits, trusts are a flexible and confidential estate planning tool, and can assist in corporate re-organization and general succession planning.

One of the various types of trusts used for personal estate planning is the testamentary trust. A testamentary trust is created in a will and comes into effect upon the will-maker’s death. This type of trust can assist with making fixed or discretionary payments to beneficiaries upon certain conditions and can assist in providing for beneficiaries with disabilities.

If you would like to learn more about the differences between wills and trusts, or if you are interested in our legal services for wills, estates, and trusts, please contact Linley Welwood at 604-850-6640 or by filling out a contact form on our website.


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