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Wollaston Associates

Experts in Estate Planning:
Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney.

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Martin Wollaston, expert in Wills, Trusts, Probate and Lasting Power of Attorney.

Trusts explained

What is a Trust?

Trusts are often associated with the extremely wealthy, but this is a misconception as a Trust can be beneficial for anybody, no matter their net worth. The purpose of a Trust is to leave assets behind for a loved one in a controlled environment.

A Trust allows a party to set aside their assets and funds for loved ones / friends / charities, while being freely able to state how, where, when, and why they wish for them to be distributed in that way.

During the process, one or more persons will be appointed by the party providing the funds (the grantor) to the position of trustee.

A trustee is responsible for the assets held within the Trust and to make sure that the wishes of the grantor are followed.

There are multiple different types of Trust – depending on the situation and stipulations the grantor wishes. The most common are:

  • Asset protection
  • Family
  • Property protection

Which is better - a Trust or a Will?

One of the biggest reasons for confusion between Trusts and Wills is that there is some overlap between the two.

Both are there to protect and benefit loved ones; it is just the method and circumstances of protection and the total package that differs.

Among the key differences between the two are that a Trust can go into effect immediately upon it being signed, whereas Wills don’t go into effect until someone passes away.

Additionally, Wills allow for arrangements to be made for children and pets, with the opportunity to also specify final arrangement wishes (e.g burial, cremation, scattering of ashes).

Conversely, Trusts are more complicated agreements, meaning that more detail can be added into any wishes, with more stipulations and conditions than in a basic Will.

Both Trusts and Wills have their advantages, but are both different in so many ways that one can never be definitively seen as better than the other – they are both essential forms of estate planning, and both offer protection and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

In essence, the advantages of a Trust are:

  • Its terms are more private;
  • Heirs are able to avoid probate; and
  • It provides greater control over what happens to assets than a Will.

The advantages of a Will include:

  • It provides for children and pets to be included;
  • It avoids assets being distributed according to the laws of intestacy; and
  • It avoids large inheritance tax implications.