Estate Lawyer Guide: The Definition of a Will and a Trust

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We all know that wills and trusts are important estate planning tools which need to be established and validated through an estate planning attorney. However, not many of us know what the precise definitions of a will and a trust are. These estate planning tools serve different purposes but can both be used together to form a complete estate plan when done through professional estate lawyers. Read on to find out what the differences are between a trust and a will and what purposes they serve.

The Definition of a Will

A valid will is a formulated estate planning tool which is legally executed to stipulate how your assets will be divided after death. Your estate refers to everything you own such as your house, furniture, investments, policies and bank accounts. An executor, who must be appointed in your will, ensures that your will is carried out according to your stipulations and requirements. A professional who specialises in estate administration will be able to ensure that all requirements stipulated in terms of the Administration of EstatesAct have been met as an executor.

The Definition of a Trust

On the other hand, a trust is the legal arrangement whereby a trustee is assigned to hold the right to manage assets for the benefit of the beneficiary. A trust can be established through a will using the expertise from estate lawyers in order for it to come into effect after the death of the person in question. Reasons for establishing a testamentary trust in the will includes:

  • To make provision for maintenance for any beneficiaries who are minors.
  • To ensure that the inheritance assigned to minors are secured to a certain age, as stipulated in the will.
  • To appoint a trustee who can protect the assets for the beneficiaries and ensure they go where you intended.

Points to Remember


In order for your will and trust to be legally valid you need to use an estate planning attorney to assist you in drafting your will and trust using these estate planning tools. It is also important for an attorney to administer a deceased estate and to assist the executor or trustee with the legal requirements after death.

Looking for Estate Lawyers in Pretoria?

If you’re looking for professional estate lawyers in Pretoria, contact Engelbrecht Attorneys to help you coordinate and validate your estate planning tools and for you to ask any estate questions you may have.

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