A Full-Service Law Firm, Putting Clients First Since 1953

How do wills and trusts compare?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2020 | Estate Planning & Probate

As you create your estate plan, you do not necessarily have to choose between a will and a trust. Because they are different documents that accomplish different things, many people include both in their estate plans.

However, in some situations, it is better to have either a will or a trust but not necessarily both. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding these can help you decide which to include in your estate plan.

Transfer of property

One of the biggest differences between a will and a trust is that a will has to go through probate but a trust does not. In theory, creating a trust instead of a will results in a smoother and swifter transfer of property to intended beneficiaries. However, as Forbes explains, it does not always work that way in practice. The trustee may have to convince a financial institution to accept their authority.

Privacy concerns

If you wish for your personal and financial matters to remain private, a trust may be more beneficial to you than a will. the details of a trust remain private, while the probate process is a matter of public record. The public nature of a probated will also makes it more easy to challenge than a trust.

Making changes

After writing a will, you can make changes to it at any time. If you make changes to your will, make sure that the updates include language stating that they supersede the previous term. You can avoid further confusion by physically destroying the old will.

If you create a revocable trust, you can make changes to it at any time. In fact, you should review it periodically to ensure that it is still up to date. However, if you create an irrevocable trust, you cannot make future changes to it.