Will vs. Trust: What's the Difference?


Two Ways to Plan for the Future

You probably don’t like to think about what will happen after you die, but it’s essential to protect your hard-earned assets that you spent your whole life working for. Regardless of how many assets you own, you must ensure they go to the right people when you pass away. The last thing you need is for a Texas probate judge to determine who gets what.

Take control of your legacy by creating a will and trust. Both are legal documents that instruct how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. However, there are key differences between them that you should consider.


Wills are legal documents that instruct how you want your property and assets to be distributed and to whom. You can write your funeral wishes and instruct where you want your assets to go (fine china, jewelry, collectibles, etc.), although you can opt to have such assets be owned by your trust.

A will names your executor and beneficiaries, and appoints guardians for your children. It’s worth mentioning that if you have children, you must have a will to ensure they are protected by a trusted guardian if they are minors when you die. On that note, wills only become effective when you die, unlike trusts. They also become public record, as they are submitted to a probate court that works to ensure your will is legal and valid. Thus, your private information such as your assets and beneficiaries will become public court record.


Trusts are more elaborate than wills because they are more personalized to your unique goals. Like wills, living revocable trusts are legal documents that provide instructions for what, where and when your assets will be distributed and to whom. Although there are several types of trusts you can choose from, living revocable trusts are among the most common; these trusts allow you to avoid probate court.

Unlike wills, however, trusts become effective during your lifetime, meaning you can manage your property while you are alive or after you die. This also means that your trust “owns” your assets as soon as it’s created. In a trust, you appoint a trustee to manage your assets if you become incapacitated, as well as name the trustor (you), successor trustee and trust beneficiaries. Your trustee should be someone who you and your family can depend on to follow the wishes outlined in your trust.

How Do I Create a Will & Trust?

Wills and trusts are both crucial legal documents needed to plan for the management and distribution of your assets. Beyond this, these documents ensure your loved ones receive the property and protection that you intend to provide them after death. Given the importance and impacts of wills and trusts, you must ensure they are drafted correctly or else you may risk derailing your last wishes.

High stakes like these require the legal counsel and guidance from a dedicated Irving estate planning attorney. J. Roland Jeter obtains a comprehensive understanding of all stages of the estate planning process and can assist you in navigating every option available to you. He can help ensure you are making the best possible decision for you, your future and your family.

At J. Roland Jeter, P.C., your last wishes come first. Let’s work together to protect your most valuable possessions and people by contacting the firm at (972) 330-4050!

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