Last will and testament

What Are the Differences Between a Trust and a Will?

Trusts and wills are both vital parts of an established estate plan. Both are used to protect your loved ones in the event of your death as well as uphold your final wishes. Today, we review the key differences between a trust and a will and the importance of a valid estate plan.

An Overview of Wills

A will is a legal document that contains a deceased person’s final wishes regarding the following: 

  • Affairs
  • Guardianship of any minor children 
  • Inheritances (including property, assets, vehicles, artwork, furniture, etc.)

A will becomes active once the individual dies and is subject to probate. 

An Overview of Trusts

A trust is a legal relationship where the legal title of property is given to an individual who then has a fiduciary duty to hold the title for the benefit of a third party. A trust becomes active the day it is established.

There are many types of trusts; however, most fall into two categories: living and testamentary. A living trust is created while the owner is still alive and is active when trustor died. A testamentary trust names a trustee that will control the trustor’s final wishes, assets, and the passing of the estate.

What Are the Main Differences Between a Will and a Trust? 

Here are the key differences between a will and a trust: 

  • Wills are required to go through probate, whereas trusts are not
  • Trusts are active on the day of creation whereas wills activate once an individual has died
  • Wills can be contested and trusts cannot 
  • Wills name the guardianship of minor children, whereas trusts do not
  • Trusts are not usually challenged in court, whereas wills can be disputed 
  • Wills can be revised, whereas only a revocable trust can be revised
  • Trusts are private record, whereas wills are public record

How to Determine if a Will or a Trust Is For You

To ensure that your loved ones are set up for success in the event of your death, it would be advisable to secure a consultation with an experienced attorney. The lawyers at our firm can help you determine which estate planning approach is best for you and your family and provide comprehensive legal services to set you up for the future. 

Contact our firm online to schedule a consultation to discuss your estate planning options today.