Will vs. Trust in Ohio

Making the Right Choice Between Wills and Trusts

In estate planning, understanding the balance between wills and trusts in Ohio is crucial. Whether you’re seeking to protect your assets, provide for your loved ones, or ensure that your legacy is preserved, the decisions you make in this area can significantly impact your future and the future of your family.

At the Law Office of David Bale, we are dedicated to guiding you through the complex landscape of wills and trusts, ensuring that you achieve your estate planning objectives. We provide a wide range of estate planning services to help you safeguard your family’s future and minimize potential tax liabilities. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our Ohio estate planning attorneys, and let us help you build a strong foundation for your estate plan.

Quick Summary:

  • Estate planning in Ohio involves a crucial balance between wills and trusts, with significant implications for asset protection, providing for loved ones, and preserving your legacy.
  • Wills go through probate, can lack privacy, and may offer less control and flexibility. Trusts can bypass probate, provide more privacy, and offer greater control over asset distribution. The choice depends on your specific needs and goals.
  • At the Law Office of David Bale, we provide comprehensive estate planning services, helping you safeguard your family’s future and minimize tax liabilities.
  • Our Ohio estate planning attorneys offer a wide range of services and a free consultation to guide you through the complexities of wills and trusts, ensuring your estate planning objectives are achieved.

Don’t let your estate planning become a source of worry and confusion. Contact the Law Office of David Bale today for a free consultation with our Ohio estate planning attorneys and ensure that your estate plan aligns with your specific needs and goals.

What is a Will?

A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines a person’s wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and the management of their affairs after their death. In a will, the person creating it, known as the testator, can specify how their property, possessions, and other assets should be distributed among their chosen beneficiaries,.

The testator appoints an executor or a personal representative who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. The executor manages the estate, pays debts and taxes, and distributes assets according to the will’s instructions.

A will must be written, signed, witnessed, and dated with certain formalities in the language of the document. Wills can and should be changed periodically throughout one’s life. When creating a will, it is essential to consult with our Ohio estate planning lawyer to ensure that it complies with the legal requirements of your jurisdiction and accurately reflects your wishes. A well-drafted will can help provide clarity, prevent disputes among heirs, and ensure that your assets are distributed as you intend after your passing.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal and financial arrangement wherein a grantor transfers assets or property to a trustee to manage and distribute for the benefit of beneficiaries. Trusts are a fundamental tool in estate planning and can serve various purposes, offering benefits such as asset protection, privacy, and control over the distribution of assets.

The instructions for how to administer the trust are written in the trust document, and the trustee has to follow those instructions. Trust documents can be highly customizable to meet the grantor’s specific goals and wishes.

Trusts are versatile tools in estate planning, allowing individuals to customize the distribution of their assets, protect their wealth, and achieve various financial and personal goals. However, creating a trust is a complex legal process, which is why it’s essential to work with our Ohio estate planning lawyer to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and objectives.

What is the Difference Between Wills and Trusts in Ohio?

Wills and trusts are both important estate planning tools in Ohio, but they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics. Here’s a comparison of the key differences between wills and trusts in Ohio:


When someone dies, their assets need to be transferred. This can be done through a will, trust, or intestate succession. Probate determines if there is a valid will and which assets are subject to court administration. Wills go through probate, a legal process involving validating the will, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets. Probate can be time-consuming, expensive, and public. Trusts bypass probate, distributing assets according to the trust document without court involvement.


Privacy is a growing concern in estate planning. Many individuals prefer to keep their financial affairs and family matters private.

Wills are public documents, so the contents of your will, including the list of assets and beneficiaries, become part of the public record during probate. On the other hand, trusts are private documents, providing a higher level of privacy for your estate planning.

Control and Flexibility

Wills generally provide straightforward instructions for asset distribution, but they may not offer the same level of control or flexibility as trusts. Trusts offer more control and flexibility over how and when your assets are distributed. You can set specific conditions for distributions, stagger payments over time, and provide for more complex scenarios.

Types and Complexity

Wills are relatively simple to create and typically less complex than trusts. They are often a good choice for individuals with straightforward estate planning needs.

On the other hand, trusts can be more complex to create and administer. There are various types of trusts, such as revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, and more, each with specific purposes.

Guardianship Provisions

Wills are suitable for designating a guardian for minor children, ensuring their care if you and the other parent cannot. While trusts are not typically used to designate guardians, they can include provisions for the financial support and well-being of minor beneficiaries. A trust can specify how trust assets should be used for the care, education, and upbringing of your children.

Estate Tax Planning

Wills do not offer the same level of flexibility for advanced estate tax planning compared to trusts. Assets passing through a will may not be protected from estate taxes.

On the other hand, trusts can be used for more sophisticated estate tax planning, allowing you to potentially minimize tax liabilities. Trusts can facilitate lifetime gifting strategies that allow you to transfer assets out of your estate, reducing the overall taxable value of your estate. This can be especially valuable for high-net-worth individuals looking to minimize estate taxes.


Wills can be amended or revoked at any time during the grantor’s lifetime if mentally competent. The process for revoking involves creating a new will, physically destroying the old one, or executing a codicil.

Trusts have different rules for revocability. Revocable living trusts can be changed or revoked by the grantor, while irrevocable trusts require beneficiary consent. Choosing between a will and a trust depends on your goals, assets, and circumstances. Many people use both to create a comprehensive estate plan. Consult with our wills and trusts attorneys in Westerville, OH for the right decisions.

Why Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney in Ohio?

Choosing between a will and a trust is a significant decision in estate planning, and it’s important to understand the implications of your choice. This decision has long-term effects on how your assets will be managed and distributed, your family’s financial security, and the impact on your estate’s tax liabilities.

Working with our Westerville, OH, estate planning lawyers at the Law Office of David Bale is crucial when choosing between a will and a trust, as we can help you make informed decisions tailored to your specific financial situation and goals. Here are some of the reasons why you need an estate planning attorney in Ohio for guidance:

  • Knowledge of the Law: We have in-depth knowledge of Ohio-specific laws and regulations, ensuring that your plan complies with the laws and makes the most of available benefits.
  • Avoiding Pitfalls and Disputes: Poorly drafted or unclear estate planning documents can lead to disputes among heirs. We are here to help you create legally valid documents that minimize the potential for family conflicts.
  • Peace of Mind: We provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your estate plan is legally sound and well-structured.

Our estate planning law firm can provide you with the guidance and support needed to make informed decisions about whether to choose wills, trusts, or a combination of both in your estate plan. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our Ohio estate planning lawyers and learn more about how we can help you achieve your estate planning goals.

Call Our Westerville, OH, Estate Planning Attorneys Now!

Both wills and trusts have their advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on your individual circumstances, family situation, estate planning goals, and preferences. Regardless of your choice, consulting with our Westerville estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of David Bale is essential to ensure your plan aligns with Ohio’s specific laws and regulations, minimizes tax liabilities, and addresses complex family dynamics or financial situations.

Our estate planning law firm has extensive experience in helping individuals and families in Ohio create comprehensive estate plans. Our legal team will explain the differences between wills and trusts, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the benefits and limitations of each option. We will conduct a thorough review of your financial situation, including your assets, liabilities, and potential tax liabilities. We will provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions.

Don’t let your estate planning become a source of worry and confusion. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation and let us make your estate planning journey a seamless one.

Reach Out Today To Set Up Your Case Evaluation.

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