Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

Skilled Wills And Trusts Representation

When planning for your future, wills and trusts are essential for proper estate planning. What’s the difference between a will and a trust? At Artherton Law, you can find the information you are looking for. I am Angela Artherton, a lawyer dedicated to helping clients throughout northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

The main difference is in the timing. A will takes effect after the death of someone, whereas a trust can be used while the person is still living or after the person is deceased. Below is a bit more in-depth information on the difference between wills and trusts, and how we can help you in both of these areas.

General Information About Wills

One of the most important things to remember about having a will is that if you die without an estate plan, the state determines how your property and assets are divided and who will take over them. The state will also decide who will take over your debts, which is never a comfortable topic to discuss. Most people will agree this is a scary thought, but not everyone thinks far enough ahead to plan a will.

While we always hope for the best, fatalities do happen in a multitude of circumstances and in people of all ages. In short, a will determines how you want your affairs handled and how you want your property distributed. This can also include areas such as how you’d like the burial and funeral to be arranged and who will care for your children if you have minors. Wills can even appoint a person to handle a trust for these minors until they reach a certain age. All wills are public record and are handled by the probate court.

What To Know About Different Types Of Trusts

Trusts, like wills, distribute assets and money to beneficiaries. One of the primary differences between the two is how those assets distribute. In a trust, a grantor (the person who makes the trust) has more control over when and how the assets go to the trustees. A grantor can often disperse these assets before their passing, so they can enjoy seeing their loved ones receive their inheritance. There are multiple types of trusts that can create different levels of control for a grantor, such as:

Revocable Trust

Owners of revocable trusts can (during their lifetime) alter, amend or terminate these trusts at any time. These are considered part of the grantor’s taxable estate.

Irrevocable Trust

An irrevocable trust is a trust that the grantor does not control and cannot alter. In this type of trust, the grantor has given up all control interest in the trust assets. Because of this, these assets are not included in the grantor’s taxable income. Additionally, these assets are not included in the grantor’s estate.

Charitable Trust

This type of trust is exactly as it sounds – it’s a trust set up to benefit one or more charities for a lifetime or for a specified amount of time. These are usually set up to provide regular recurring payments to these charities. If there are funds remaining at the end of the specified period, these benefits are then transferred to the grantor’s noncharitable beneficiaries such as family members.

Special Needs/Purpose Trust

These trusts typically are established to provide or to supplement care for someone with a disability in a way that does not disrupt the person’s ability to receive certain benefits for or participate in certain programs related to the person’s disability.  They are not limited to that purpose, though.  These trusts can be established for just about any other purpose requested by the grantor, too.

Get The Guidance You Need Today

If you are looking to start developing or updating your wills or trusts, contact our office today. Call 870-627-3031 or email me here to schedule your initial consultation today.