Skip to main content
Estate attorney advice: the difference between wills and trusts in Knoxville, TN
March 5, 2021 at 7:00 AM
Estate attorney advice: the difference between wills and trusts in Knoxville, TN

It’s never too early to start with your estate planning. Whether you have several large assets or a bank account with a few dollars in it, you need to make sure that your family knows what you wish to be done with your assets should you pass away. However, it can be confusing to know what needs to be done with what you have. An estate attorney in Knoxville, TN at DZ Law can help. Keep reading to learn more about estate planning and what you need to do to make sure your affairs are in order as you progress in life and after you pass away.

What is estate planning?

To fully understand the importance of estate planning, it’s important to know what it is. Estate planning is making arrangements for your estate and belongings during your life, should you ever become physically incapacitated, and after death. This is important to understand because many times we think of estate planning as simply planning for death.

When it comes to estate planning, there are two things that you can do to make your desires known to your family. You can create a will and you can create a trust. Let’s take a deeper look to understand what exactly the difference is between these two.

What is a will?

Your Last Will and Testament (commonly referred to simply as a will) is a document that gives specific instructions as to how you would like your assets to be handled after you die. Your will is written according to how you would like your assets dispersed after death. This can be as specific as an itemized list of who gets what or simply state that your spouse or a child gets your assets.

Beyond assets, your will can also include who you would like to have guardianship of your dependents who are still minors. While it’s obvious that your spouse will get sole custody of your children, you should know what happens if you both pass away. It’s common that a family member would receive guardianship of your minor children, but if you have a preference of who gets guardianship of your children, specify that in your will.

An estate attorney will make sure that your will is legal and binding so your wishes are accurately fulfilled.

What is a trust?

A trust is a fiduciary relationship where a trustor gives a trustee the right to hold property or assets for a third party. While this feels very similar to a will, the main difference is that a trust is active during the life of the trustor.

An example of this could be that you have a large estate that you want to leave for your heirs, but you worry about a premature dispersal of assets. You can put a piece of land or a sum of money in a trust for one of your heirs. The trust holder then manages the money or land until your specified instructions are satisfied. Your demands can include that your heir must reach a certain age before they’re allowed to access the money or it matures to a certain point. Either way, the trustee holds the asset until you say it’s OK to release it to your heirs. This can happen during your life or after.

Contact DZ Law

Get help planning your estate with an estate attorney in Knoxville, TN. At DZ Law, we’re experts in End of Life planning. Our team of attorneys will help you get your affairs in order so you and your family are prepared should you pass unexpectedly or far in the future. Give our team a call at 865-457-6409 or send us a message using our contact form. We look forward to working with you.