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What are the Differences Between Wills and Family Trusts?

Estate Planning Lawyers Sydney


When it is time for you to make arrangements for your assets, you may be looking into whether a will or a family trust suits you best. The two options are quite similar, and people often get confused. In saying that, there are notable differences between family trusts and wills, which we will discuss in this article. We will also touch on how Lancaster Law and Mediation (LLM), can help you choose between the two and get them appropriately set up and organised.

What is a Family Trust?

A family trust is set up to hold family assets in accordance and agreeance with the trustee (owner of the trust). The trustee distributes finances, property and assets to members of their family, which is held within the trust until the trustee deems fit to distribute it.

What is a Will?

A will is a document that specifically explains how your assets should be distributed after your death. The document itself should be prepared and legally verified prior to one’s death, and only becomes operational after that person has passed away. The executor of a will is the person in charge of ensuring that the will is enforced and that the instructions within the will are followed accordingly.

Main Differences Between a Will and Family Trust

There are two main differences between a will and a family trust. These are:

  1. When You Use Them: The most notable difference is the time during which a will and a family trust is used. A family trust generally makes annual contributions to its benefactors, whereas you hold onto all of your assets under your will until the time that you die.
  2. Distributions: A family trust will distribute funds and assets on a regular basis to its benefactors, usually once or twice annually. However, the beneficiaries of a will,  only receive their assets after the death of the person that wrote the will. After this occurs, the executor usually must acquire a grant of probate, which allows them to begin making the distributions that the will requests.

Estate Planning Lawyers Sydney: How LLM Can Help

At LLM, our expert and dedicated team can help you determine whether a family trust or a will is most suitable for you. We can guide you in the right direction, as well as assist in filing the correct legal forms to make the process as seamless and easy as possible. For will dispute lawyers Sydney, and some of the most experienced estate planning lawyers Sydney has to offer, LLM are here to help.

Discover more about the wills and estates lawyers Sydney has to offer when you contact Lancaster Law and Mediation online, call our friendly team on 02 4227 1177 or 0418 488 495.