What Is the Difference Between A Will vs. A Trust?

You’re not alone if you are new to estate planning or simply don’t understand the difference between a will and a trust. There can be a considerable amount of misunderstanding associated with the two things.

Some common misinformation that circulates is that trusts are for wealthy people and their children. And if you create a will, you’re all set. Both trusts (and there are several kinds) and wills are two very different tools to use when constructing your estate plan. They offer varying degrees of asset protection, and how they are treated after you pass away differs.

Without knowing what they can do for you, you might never be able to use the tool that best fits your needs.

One Difference Between a Will and a Trust: A Will Goes Through Probate

One of the most significant differences between a will and a trust is that a will goes through probate. This article is not meant to encourage you to choose one or the other (or both) but rather explain what each achieves. You can then go to your attorney with confidence to discuss your options.  

A will goes through a probate court, and they are public. The court then determines the validity of the will and initiates the process of distributing your assets. Though that was a deliberate simplification of the process, it merely points out the role of probate.

Is probate bad? That is dependent on you and your wishes. The costs of a relatively small estate to go through probate may be high considering the number or value of assets. But some people may prefer the additional oversight of things being public. And there are more established grounds for challenging a will.

What They Achieve

By creating a will, you can do the following:

  • Designate who receives your assets
  • Choose a guardian for your children 
  • Outline your wishes for your arrangements 

After you create a will, you still own your assets. Although there are different trusts (e.g., revocable & irrevocable), you transfer your assets into them. Assets can even be retitled in the name of the trust.

Your attorney can elaborate on the difference between a will and a trust. But, it is important to know there are legal ways for you to still live in and manage your house after putting it into a trust.

Wills and trusts are elaborate, and a professional estate planning attorney can build your estate planning using either of these tools (or both). To set up a free consultation, contact Amsberry Law.

The following two tabs change content below.

Amsberry Law Firm

The Amsberry Law Firm, founded in 1995, has helped thousands of clients overcome their unique legal challenges.

Latest posts by Amsberry Law Firm (see all)