Understanding the Different Types of Wills and Trusts

February 15, 2023 Estate Planning

The purpose of estate planning is to ensure that your property is distributed in a way that you find agreeable upon your passing. When an individual passes without a will, the state gets involved, and your property will pass according to your state’s rules, which might not reflect your preferences. To ensure that your property passes as you prefer upon your passing, a will is essential, while if you would like to control the distribution of your property while you are still alive, a trust presents an ideal option. 

Here we’ll explore the different types of wills and trusts and explain their benefits, and a Florida estate planning lawyer from Martin Law Firm can answer any questions you might have and help you establish a solid estate plan that accurately and fully account for your wishes. 

Types of Wills 

The main function of a will is to dictate where your assets pass upon your death. It must be valid under Florida Statute by meeting certain requirements your estate planning attorney can advise you on. A will allows you to: 

  • Leave your assets to persons or organizations you specify 
  • To appoint a guardian for minor children alive at the time of your death
  • To appoint a trustee to oversee the distribution of your property in line with your will

Depending upon your specific needs, a different type of will may fit best, with the following 3 the most common in Florida. 

Simple Will 

This is the most common type of will that you’ll encounter and is sometimes referred to as a “basic” will. With a simple will, you are able to decide who will receive your assets upon your passing and can also name a guardian for any minor children. 

Mirror Wills 

If you and your spouse are considering how to structure your estate plan, knowing that the option of mirror wills is very common is helpful. With mirror wills, spouses create nearly identical terms and provisions for their wills and execute them together. This helps to ensure that the wishes of both spouses in a marriage are respected and both spouses agree to the contents without issue. 

Pour-Over Will 

This is a trust-based estate plan, which allows you to dictate how certain assets are distributed, then anything beyond that goes into a trust upon your death, to be distributed in line with its terms. 

A Trust Transfers Ownership and Requires Management

While a will transfers property upon your death, a trust transfers rights in the property while you are alive. The individual who establishes the trust determines how the assets are distributed if there are triggering events, and how the trust is treated upon the passing of the individual who set it up. Assets placed into a trust are managed by a trustee, who is responsible for managing the trust in line with a predetermined plan. For example, a trust can be created with cash assets only paid out when the beneficiary reaches a certain age or certain accomplishments like graduating high school. 

Discuss Options on Your Case with a Lawyer

To learn how the dedicated attorneys from Martin Law Firm can help with your concerns, give us a call at 239-323-9820, or visit our site to schedule a consultation