Legal Guide

Estate Plan vs Will: What Are the Differences?

According to various studies, only around 30% of Americans currently have a will in place. With that number being so low, it's no wonder there are so many court cases when someone passes away due to lack of a will.

Instead of leaving it up to chance, take some time to make sure you aren't one of the numbers. 

Thankfully, this guide will help you understand the differences between an estate plan vs will.

Estate Planning: The Basics

Estate planning is the process of creating a plan to protect your assets while you are alive and distribute them according to your wishes when you die.

The basics of estate planning include creating a will, setting up trusts, and making sure your beneficiaries are up to date.

Estate planning can be a complex process, but it is important to put your affairs in order so that your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone. 

Wills: The Basics

When a person dies, their belongings are distributed according to a legal document called a will. If the deceased person did not have a will, their belongings are given to their closest relatives according to state law.

A will is simply a document that states who will receive the deceased person's belongings. The document must be signed by the person making the will (the "testator") and witnessed by two other people. The witnesses must sign the will in front of the testator.

Estate Plan vs Will: The Key Differences

Estate planning and wills are two important aspects of protecting your assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death. Here are the key differences between estate plan vs will:

Estate planning is the process of creating a plan to manage your assets during your lifetime and after your death. A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for how your assets should be distributed after your death.

Estate planning can involve a variety of strategies to help you manage your assets, including trusts, gifting, and tax planning. A will is only concerned with the distribution of your assets after your death.

Estate planning can be used to plan for disability or incapacity, whereas a will only takes effect after your death. Estate planning can be changed or revoked at any time, whereas a will generally cannot be changed after it is executed.

Estate planning is also an important process for everyone, regardless of the size of their estate. A will is only one tool that can be used in estate planning, and it is not right for everyone.

Speak with an attorney at to determine what estate planning strategies are right for you.

Plan Your Estate Now

You need to have both a will and an estate plan to make sure your wishes are carried out. Estate planning is a complex and important process that requires the help of an experienced attorney. 

If you have not started estate planning, or if you have questions about estate plan vs will, contact an experienced estate planning attorney to get started.

Make sure you are managing your money properly. Check out our blog posts, and get advice on how to appropriately invest your assets.

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