what is the difference between a trust and a will?

Differences Between Wills and Trusts

In our experience, most of our clients have heard the terms “will” and “trust,” but not everyone can fully describe the differences between the two. They are both extremely beneficial estate planning instruments, but they serve different purposes.

Following is a list of some of the principal differences between a will and a trust.


  • Goes into effect upon death
  • Directs who will receive your property upon death
  • Appoints personal representative to carry out your wishes
  • Covers all property in your name at the time of death
  • Must pass through probate
  • Less privacy because it becomes public record during probate process
  • Nominates guardian for minor children
  • Change be changed at any time before death


  • Goes into effect once executed and assets are transferred into the trust
  • Allows you to transfer your property before or after death
  • Appoints a trustee to hold legal title to your property
  • Covers only the property that has been transferred into trust
  • Does not have to pass through probate
  • More privacy because it does not become public record
  • Cannot name a guardian for minor children
  • Depending on the type of trust, it can be revoked or amended at any time before death

If you’d like to know even more about wills, read our What is a Will and How Can it Help Me? article. Or reach out today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with Jacob Fleming and Bob Monroe. You can meet with them by phone, in person or by video.