Unlike a trust, a will must be recorded so that somebody can be granted authority to transfer assets. This is not the case when a trust is created. That’s why trusts may be better for some estate owners in Virginia. As with a will, trusts may contain instructions as to how assets are to be transferred. However, the trustee is the one who is granted the power to do so without the need for a court to get involved.

It is possible that small estates can be settled without the need to go through a formal probate process. While this may be faster and easier, there are significant downsides. For example, the will may only be valid for a certain period of time after a person passes if it is not filed. Once this period of time passes, there may be no way to transfer an asset according to the terms of that document.

There are many differences between a will and trust that a person should consider when choosing between the two options. For instance, the terms of a will are made public while the contents of a trust can be kept a secret. Probate can also be an expensive process, which is why some individuals want to avoid it.

In most cases, a will can act as a simple yet effective tool to transfer assets and provide other instructions as to how an estate should be handled. Those who are curious about how a will might fit into an estate plan may benefit from speaking with an attorney. Legal counsel could explain how wills work, if a trust may be worth creating and the differences between the two.