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The Differences Between a Will & a Trust

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Differences between a Will and a Trust

Will: The Sealed Letter

Imagine your assets are like valuable items you want to pass on to your loved ones. A will is like a sealed letter containing your wishes. You write down who should receive what, seal it, and store it in a secure place. This letter is only opened after you pass away, and the instructions inside are then followed by an "executor" you have appointed, much like a trusted friend who opens the sealed letter to carry out your wishes.

Trust: The Safe Deposit Box

Now, think of a trust as a secure safe deposit box. Instead of just a sealed letter, you place your assets directly into the box while you're alive. You appoint a "trustee" who holds the key and manages these assets according to your instructions.

The key difference here is that the trustee has the authority to access and manage the contents of the safe deposit box not only after you're gone but also during your lifetime if needed. It's like having a manager for your assets who can step in when necessary.

Trust vs. Will: Activation Timing

In summary, a will is like a sealed letter containing posthumous instructions, opened only after you pass away, while a trust is like a safe deposit box where your assets are placed for management by a trustee, both during your lifetime and after you're gone.

The essential distinction is that a will takes effect only after death, whereas a trust can be actively managed during your lifetime and offer more flexibility in the distribution of your assets.

Want to discuss a will or trust with one of our Houston/Fort Worth lawyers? Schedule a consultation by contacting Keith Morris & Stacy Kelly, Attorneys at Law at (713) 636-5339.