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Wills or Trusts? How are Wills and Trusts different?

So how are wills and trusts different and should you create a will or a trust or both? Most people understand the need to create a Will. Wills are much easier to create than Trusts. Trusts can be complex, and legal issues surrounding them can tear families apart if they are misunderstood. The thing in life that we can’t escape is death. To help facilitate the closing of an individual’s lifetime accumulations, probate lawyers are key in the execution of wills, probate law, trusts and executor services.

A Will is a document created by a person who intends to allocate his/her assets to family, individuals or organizations after the person dies. The assets that are put in a Will should be owned outright by the person to avoid unnecessary objection to the Will.  A Will be valid if it meets the legal formalities required in the Wills Act 1837

A trust is a document that manages the assets allocated to individuals or organizations whilst the person is living. Some trusts are managed by lawyers. The lawyer is then the trustee and will manage the trust assets according to the wishes of the person who created the trust. A Trust will br valid if it meets the legal formalities in the Trustee Act 1925  revised as Trustee Act 2000

Probate is the court supervised process where the contents of a will or a trust are transferred to the beneficiaries. Probate allows the trusts and will to be challenged by individuals.

You need an experienced legal advisor to draft, set up and manage the Will or Trust according to the terms of the trust or contents of the Will.

Should you have a Trust or a Will?
  • It is a matter of personal choice whether you choose a Will or a Trust
  • You might need to make payments from a Trust to a beneficiary once they have reached a certain age.
  • A Will is less expensive prepare and easier to set up than a Trust.
  • You might need both a Will and a Trust.
What is a Will Trust?

A Will Trust has an appointed person known as an executor who is responsible for maintaining the Trust and executing the Trust that is part of the Will. All assets in the Will and Trust will have named beneficiaries. The settlor (the owner of the Trust) chooses the beneficiaries of the Trust.

The executor of the Will Trust can be a legal professional or company or a trusted appointed person. They are legally responsible for the safeguarding of the Trust especially vulnerable beneficiaries. They are also responsible for paying creditors and taxes owed by the Trust during the lifetime of the Trust and the wishes of the settlor. The creation of trusts and maintenance is governed by legislation namely the Trustee Act 1925 amended by the Trustee Act 2000. 

At what age should you write a Will?

Managing your assets is an important decision. It is very easy to procrastinate on this issue. It is wise to make decisions sooner rather than later as soon as you reach the age of 18 years.  You are always able to modify the assets depending on any changes in your circumstances during your lifetime.

Contact us for more detailed information on Wills, Trusts, and Probate and professionals who specialise in this area.

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