Most people have heard the terms “will” and “trust,” but not everyone knows the unique differences between the two. Both trusts and wills are useful estate planning tools, but can serve different purposes. Most importantly, both can work together to create a complete estate plan.
The main difference between a will and trust is that only a will passes through probate. (Visit here for additional information on understanding probate). Generally, probate is a process that involves the court who oversees the administration of the will and ensures the will is valid. The court will also administer the property making sure it gets distributed the way the deceased wanted. Thus, an authenticated will will pass through probate while a trust most likely will not. Courts do not need to oversee the distribution of a trust, which can sometimes save time and money. In addition, many people favor a trust because they can be very private. On the contrary, a will can sometimes become public record.