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  • Writer's pictureMeason & Ramsey Law

Wills and Trusts: Understanding the Difference

A couple looks at estate planning documents online.
Meason & Ramsey Law explains the difference between a Will and a Trust.

In the realm of estate planning, the terms "will" and "trust" are often used interchangeably. However, they are distinct legal instruments with varying purposes and implications.

Understanding the key differences between a will and a trust is crucial for making informed decisions about your estate plan with an estate and trust attorney.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets and the care of your minor children after your death. It serves as a formal declaration of your intentions. The will makes sure that your property and belongings are distributed according to your desires with the guidance of an estate and trust attorney.

Key Characteristics of a Will:

  • Testamentary Document: A will takes effect only after your death. It does not provide control over your assets while you are alive with an estate and trust attorney.

  • Probate Process: Wills typically go through probate, a legal process that involves court oversight to validate the will, settle debts, and distribute assets. Probate can be time-consuming and costly with an estate and trust attorney.

  • Flexibility: Wills can be amended or revoked at any time, allowing you to make changes to your estate plan as your circumstances change with an estate and trust attorney.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement where you transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee. The trustee manages and distributes those assets according to your instructions with an estate and trust attorney. The trust can be created during your lifetime (living trust) or upon your death (testamentary trust).

Key Characteristics of a Trust:

  • Inter vivos Document: Living trusts take effect immediately upon their creation. This allows you to manage your assets and avoid probate with an estate and trust attorney. Testamentary trusts take effect after your death, similar to a will.

  • Avoids Probate: Trusts generally bypass probate, saving time and expenses. Assets held in a trust are distributed directly to beneficiaries according to the trust terms with an estate and trust attorney.

  • Control During Life: Living trusts allow you to maintain control over your assets while appointing a successor trustee to manage your affairs if you become unable to with an estate and trust attorney.

Choosing the Right Option for Your Needs with an Estate and Trust Attorney

The decision between a will and a trust depends on your individual circumstances, goals, and preferences. Consider these factors when making your choice with an estate and trust attorney:

  • Complexity of Your Estate: If your estate is relatively simple, a will may suffice. For more complex estates, a trust may be more suitable with an estate and trust attorney.

  • Desire for Control: If you want to maintain control over your assets during your lifetime, a living trust is the ideal choice with an estate and trust attorney.

  • Avoiding Probate: If you want to avoid the time, cost, and public nature of probate, a trust is the preferred option with an estate and trust attorney.

  • Privacy Concerns: If you value privacy, a trust is preferable as it does not become a public record with an estate and trust attorney.

Seek Legal Guidance with an Estate and Trust Attorney

Estate planning can be complex, and making informed decisions requires careful consideration of your unique situation with an estate and trust attorney. Consulting with an experienced estate and trust attorney can provide you with personalized guidance. It can also help you choose the estate planning options that best align with your needs and goals.

If you're still unsure about which option is best for you, ask an estate planning attorney these questions to help you make an informed decision:

  • What are the benefits of avoiding probate?

  • What are the costs involved in setting up and maintaining a trust?

  • Is a trust right for me if my estate is relatively simple?

  • What are the privacy considerations for a will versus a trust?

  • How can I ensure that my wishes are carried out if I choose a will?

  • What happens if I become incapacitated and cannot manage my assets?

  • What are the tax implications of having a will or a trust?

Meason & Ramsey Law: A Law Firm You Can Trust

The estate and trust attorneys at Meason & Ramsey Law in Bartlesville, OK, have extensive experience in estate planning. They can assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that protects your assets. This ensures your wishes are carried out, and provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Schedule a consultation today with our experienced estate and trust attorneys to discuss your estate planning needs. Develop a personalized plan that safeguards your legacy and ensures your wishes are fulfilled.

Learn more about estate planning at Meason & Ramsey Law here.


Meason & Ramsey Law provides a professional experience for all our clients, helping them navigate their legal rights. Our focus is criminal law (felony and misdemeanors). We specialize in Criminal Law, Divorce and Family Law, Probate Law. We are currently accepting cases in Washington, Nowata and Osage counties. Meason & Ramsey Law has family lawyers, divorce lawyers, probate lawyers, criminal defense lawyers, DUI & DWI lawyers, co-counsel lawyers, family attorneys, divorce attorneys, probate attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, DUI & DWI attorneys and co-counsel attorneys. Marty Meason, Attorney at Law

Meason & Ramsey Law

515 Delaware Ave

Bartlesville, OK 74003


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