COVID-19 Update: Sowards Law Firm is open and ready to serve clients during regular business hours. At this time, we are doing remote trust signings via Zoom/GoToMeeting, mobile notaries, and drive-up notaries. Please call us at (408) 371-6000 or use our online form to set up a teleconference. Watch this video to learn more.

Sowards Law Firm - Wills vs. Trusts

When you talk about estate planning, you often hear the terms will and trust used together, they both have a role in determining who gets your assets after you die, but they are different documents that serve different purposes.

To start with, a will is what's called a testamentary document meaning it only takes effect after you die.

A trust on other hand is a living document, it's valid as soon as you, the settlor, signs it. You put assets in the trust and you control those assets immediately.

Your will must go through probate in order to be considered valid.

Your trust does not. When you die, the entire trust can be administered and distributed through your beneficiary ,saving time and money.

With a trust, you can also create sub-trusts for a spouse, children or grandchildren.

You can set limits on how the assets are used and even determine when, if ever, a child should get control them.

If you have a will, you can still specify that assets be placed in a trust for your child's benefit after you die, but why take that extra step?

With a trust, you can name a successor trustee to manage your affairs if you lose mental capacity. A will doesn't provide that option. As we said, it's not even valid until after your death.

So how do you know what's right for you? If you have questions on this, or any other estate planning issues call sowards law firm or visit