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Is A Trust And Will Administration The Same?

There can be a lot of confusion when someone passes away.  When people call me to tell me about the will or trust mom or dad has left behind, many times they do not know if they have a trust or a will.  Many individuals who I speak with use the terms trust and will, as well as trustee, executor and administrator, interchangeably.  Trusts and wills are different.  However, both are used to distribute assets after a loved one passes away.  

A major difference is the process.  A trust administration does not require court oversight unless someone such as a beneficiary requests it.  If there is a will and a trust, many times a probate is not required.  If there is only a will, probate is required.  If there are no estate documents, a probate is required.

The main point of an administration of a will or trust is the fiduciary identifies and secures the assets, pays the expenses and distributes the remainder of the assets to the beneficiaries.  The process and specific steps are different whether it is a will or a trust.  

A probate administration requires formal court oversight and begins with filing a petition.  On the other hand, a trust administration is more expedient and private since it does not require any court oversight.

Whether you will need a probate administration or trust administration is dependent upon the estate planning documents (or lack thereof) and how the assets are titled.  

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