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What Is The Difference Between A Trust & A Will In Estate Planning?

There’s a common misconception that the revocable trust and last will of testament are the same thing. However, there are key differences that separate the two estate planning vehicles. A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, can be amended or revoked at any time when the grantor, the person who creates the trust, is also the beneficiary. 

Revocable Trust & Last Will Explained

What Is The Difference Between A Trust & A Will In Estate Planning?A revocable trust is a helpful estate planning tool for individuals looking to avoid probate and keep their assets private after death while still having control of their own assets throughout their lifetime. The grantor, the person who creates the trust, as trustee, can then oversee and manage their assets as they have done previously, only with a different title when signing off documents as trustee.

A last will and testament is a legal document that allocates your assets upon your death according to your wishes. While a last will and testament can create what is known as a testamentary trust, this device does not allow you to avoid the probate process. 

Upon the death of an individual, the named executor under the will, will have to go through probate court to distribute the assets as detailed in the last will and testament if the assets left are over California’s probate threshold. During that process, everything within your estate will then be made public record.

The Distinct Advantage Of A Trust

It’s true that the last will and testament and revocable trust can both provide an avenue for distributing your assets upon your passing. However, by utilizing a trust, you can distribute your assets without the involvement of the court, keeping your assets private. 

Avoiding probate courts will prevent your family from having to endure significant expense and a court process that can last about two years or more. For this reason, the revocable trust in most cases is a far superior choice for California residents.

Contact a San Diego estate planning attorney for more information.


About Daniel Weiner

Daniel Weiner is a US and UK licensed attorney, based in San Diego, who provides trust administration and estate planning services to families and individuals across California. Dan guides his clients through the often confusing maze of financial and legal decisions to create plans that ensure the well-being of their families and the accomplishment of cherished family goals.


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