What’s The Difference Between a Will and a Trust?


One of the most common questions I get about estate planning is "What's the difference between a Trust and a Will?"

Trusts and Wills are documents that you create during your life that direct who your assets go to after you pass away. The main difference is that a Trust works during you life and a Will only works after you've passed away, its submitted to probate, and the probate court accepts it.


Trusts have the advantage of allowing your successor trustee to step in and manage your affairs if you become incapacitated. A properly drafted, executed, and funded Trust allows a seamless transition without the involvement of a court or the need for other documents.

Another advantage of Trusts is that they are private. Wills on the other hand become public once they are filed with the court.

In Oregon, the main advantage of a Will is the ability to name guardians for your minor children. You can also accomplish this with a Trust based estate plan by also having a Will that names those guardians and leaves the distribution of your assets to the Trust.

Most people I work with go the Trust route. However, it depends on your specific circumstance whether a Trust or Will estate plan is right for you.

If you'd like to find out what plan is right for you, or you have any estate plan related questions, schedule a complimentary estate plan Strategy Session.

About the Author Donald Rolfe

Father, husband, entrepreneur, and owner of a trivia filled brain. I help families and individuals plan for the unexpected and end of life. Schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session to chat with me, get answers to your questions, and find out about your Estate Plan options.

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