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How is wealth transferred through wills and trusts?

Posted on May 12, 2023

When someone dies, wealth is often transferred to a beneficiary through legal estate planning tools known as wills and trusts. While wills take effect only after the person’s death, trusts can take effect while the grantor is still living.

A trust is created by the “trustor” to provide legal protection in the transfer of their assets to another person or persons (called the

• Simple to execute and usually not subject to probate
• May avoid some estate taxes
• May lay out more specific terms than a will, such as at what age a beneficiary can receive assets or what the assets are used for

• May be more time-consuming or costly to create
• Typically requires legal assistance to create
• May be difficult (or impossible) to revoke or change
• May force you to give up control of a specific asset

A “living trust” takes effect when the grantor is still alive while a “testamentary trust” takes effect when the grantor dies (as part of a will). The trustor can provide detailed instructions on how and when the assets are distributed. Please visit for more information