Picture of a last will and testament

The Differences Between Trusts & Wills

When someone decides to start planning for their financial future, trusts and wills are some of the most common ways to determine where their assets will go when they pass away. One mistake that many people tend to make is assuming that trusts and wills are the same. Though they do have similarities, trusts and wills do not have the same capabilities.


Wills, otherwise known as a “last will and testament” are planning documents that outline where your assets go when you die. Wills allow you to designate who receives your property and appoint an executor to carry out the terms of the will. These are some of the easiest estate planning documents to produce, yet they have several shortcomings.

One aspect of wills that could have a negative impact is that they are always subject to probate and become public documents once filed in probate court. This often leads to litigious disputes between family members who believe they were unfairly omitted from the will or feel the need to contest the validity of the document. These disputes are often very expensive and may drain the resources you leave for your family before they fully receive them.


Trusts do have many of the same abilities as wills in terms of where your assets are supposed to go upon your passing, but offer several additional advantages as well. Once you have appointed a trustee to administrate the assets you place in the trust you are able to place as much or as little of your property as you wish within the trust. These assets can also be accessed at any point in time as needed over the course of your life.

Here are some key advantages that trusts hold over wills:

  • They can be made revocable, allowing you to amend the terms of the trust.
  • They do not become public documents.
  • They are not subject to probate.
  • They are much more difficult to challenge, leaving loved ones far less likely to deal with litigious disputes.
  • Allow for greater control to plan for multiple situations.

Since trusts allow for more detailed and in-depth control over your assets, they do take longer to finalize than wills. It is wise to consult with professional estate planning services when planning a trust due to the amount of administration they require.

Contact Our Laguna Woods Estate Planning Team Today

We understand that planning for the future may seem like a daunting task. We aim to provide experienced and compassionate legal guidance to make sure you find the best strategy when planning your estate.

If you would like to start planning your estate with a will or trust, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at