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What are the differences between wills and trusts?

Oklahoma residents who are thinking about estate planning know that there are many estate planning terms that are thrown around. Estate planning encompasses many different subjects, depending on a family's need. Wills and trusts are often the most popular estate planning tools.

A will designates a personal representative for an estate and lists who will get a person's property after their death. A will goes into effect after a person dies, while a trust goes into effect immediately. A trust can distribute property before a person dies, at their death or after. A trust has one person who has legal title of property, the trustee, for another person, the beneficiary. There is one set of beneficiaries who receive income during their lives and another set of beneficiaries who receive income after the first set of beneficiaries dies. A trust also only covers property that is in the trust. A will goes through probate after a person dies while a trust does not. With a will a person can also name guardians for their children and specify funeral arrangements which a trust cannot do.

A family who is working on their estate planning needs may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in estate planning. An attorney can review the family's needs and help them figure out what would work best for their unique situation.

Estate planning is a smart move for almost everyone in Oklahoma. Estate planning is not just wills and trusts, but also includes medical directives, guardianships and other matters. It can help a family feel secure in their future, knowing that their values will be passed to the next generation.

Source: lakeconews.com, "Estate planning: The differences between a trust and a will," Dennis Fordham, Aug. 5, 2017

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