Both a will and a trust are useful estate planning tools. While they serve different purposes, they can work together to equal a complete estate plan. One of the main differences between a will and a trust is that a will is designed to go into effect only after you die. A trust will takes effect immediately after you create it. A will dictates who will receive your assets upon your death. It also appoints a legal representative, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. A trust, on the other hand, can be used to distribute your property before your death, if you wish to. A trust is simply a legal arrangement where one person, called a trustee, holds the title to your property for your beneficiary. A trust can have two groups of beneficiaries. One group will receive income from the trust throughout their lives and the other group will receive that which is left over after the first group dies.
A will can only cover property that is in your sole name when you die. A trust can only cover property that you have transferred into the trust. In order for your property to be included in your trust, each property must be put into the name of the trust. Another main difference between a will and a trust is the fact that a will must pass through probate. During the probate process, a court oversees the administration of the will. A judge will ensure that the will is valid and that the property is distributed to beneficiaries or organizations the way the deceased wanted it to be. Property in a trust passes outside of probate. A court is not needed to oversee the process, which can save a massive amount of time and money. A trust can also remain private, while a will becomes public record.