In Virginia, a will and a trust are legal documents utilized for estate planning, but they assist different purposes.
A will is a legal document that stipulates how a person’s assets will be circulated after their death. It permits an individual to name an executor who will achieve the distribution of their assets and supports to ensure the outstanding debts or taxes. Moreover, a will can be used to name any minor children’s guardian.
On the other hand, a trust is a legal arrangement where a person (the trustee) transfers their assets to a trustee, who accomplishes those assets for the profit of one or more beneficiaries. Trusts can even be used for managing assets during a person’s lifetime and after their death. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, and they offer several benefits, including the ability to avoid probate and provide for the care of a disabled or financially irresponsible family member.
|Definition||A legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death.||A legal arrangement where a trustee holds and manages assets on behalf of the beneficiaries.|
|Property transfer||The transfer of property occurs only after death.||The transfer of property can occur during life or after death.|
|Probate||The will must go through the probate process before property can be distributed.||Trust property does not have to go through probate, allowing for faster distribution of assets.|
|Privacy||Wills are public documents that can be accessed by anyone.||Trusts are private documents that are not made public.|
|Control||The testator (the person making the will) retains control over their assets during their lifetime.||The trustee has control over the assets in the trust, even during the lifetime of the grantor (the person creating the trust).|
|Trustee||No trustee is appointed in a will.||A trustee is appointed to manage the assets in the trust.|
|Cost||Generally, less expensive to create than a trust.||It is more expensive to create than a will.|
|Modification||A will can be modified or revoked at any time during the testator’s lifetime.||A trust can be modified or revoked according to the terms of the trust document, which may require certain procedures to be followed.|
|Incapacity||A will does not address incapacity.||A trust can provide for management of assets in the event of incapacity.|
A will agrees on how a person’s assets will be distributed after their death, while a trust is a legal arrangement that allows a trustee to manage assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. Both can be important parts of an estate plan, and the choice of which to use will depend on the individual’s specific circumstances and goals. Let’s look it up via a tabular column for better understanding.
As per this general comparison, there may be differences in accordance with the specific circumstances of each case. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced Estate attorney to regulate an effective estate planning strategy for your individual needs.
Make a smart move with us, reach The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. We will explain the process to you and prepare you for the trial. Talk to our Wills & Estate lawyer in Virginia, who specializes in estate planning to determine the finest development of action for your specific needs.
What happens if you die without a will in Virginia?
If you die without a will in Virginia, your assets will be distributed according to state intestacy laws. Intestacy laws are a set of default rules that govern who will inherit your assets if you die without a valid will.
In Virginia, the distribution of assets under intestacy laws depends on your marital status and whether you have any children or other living relatives.
- If you are married and have children, your spouse will inherit all your property if your children are also your spouse’s children. If you have children from a previous relationship, your spouse will inherit one-third of your property, and the remaining two-thirds will be divided equally among your children.
- When you are married without any children, your spouse will inherit all your property here.
- If you are unmarried and have children, your children will inherit every property in equal shares.
- If you are unmarried without any children, your parents will inherit all your property. If your parents are deceased, your siblings will inherit your property in equal shares. If you have no surviving parents or siblings, your property will be inherited by your grandparents, and if they are deceased, by your aunts and uncles.
It is advised to ensure that the intestacy laws may not align with your wishes and can result in unintended consequences. Therefore, it is recommended to create a will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Contact the Law Offices of SRIS, P.C. if you want guidance on Estate Planning in Virginia. Our Wills & Estate planning lawyers in Virginia lawyers have experience handling various Estate planning cases and can get you out of any complications.