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Differences between trusts and wills

Lots of people in Pennsylvania utilize trusts as part of their estate plans. However, many still don't quite understand how a trust differs from a will.

There are several important differences between living trusts and wills. Unlike a will, a trust allows beneficiaries to avoid the expenses and time of going to probate court. They are also a faster way to distribute property since living trusts take effect immediately rather than upon the grantor's death. In addition, trusts can be used if the grantor becomes temporarily disabled to allow a successor to immediately take control of assets.

A trust is an estate planning tool that allows the grantor to have assets managed by a trustee. These tools can be revocable (permanent upon creation) or irrevocable (changeable during the grantor's lifetime. After the death of the grantor, a living trust becomes an irrevocable trust that cannot be changed.

Trusts are not just for wealthy property owners. Many people who do not have large estates choose to use a trust instead of a will so that their beneficiaries can avoid the expense of probating a will. In addition, an estate owner has much more flexibility over what happens to property in a trust than they do with distribution through a simple will. A trust can also help keep assets protected from creditors of beneficiaries and prevent beneficiaries from spending the money too carelessly. An attorney may be able to tailor the terms in the trust document to suit the individual needs and goals of the grantor.

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