Living Trust Vs. Will: Pros And Cons

Part of estate planning is determining how your assets will be distributed to your heirs. You can opt to create a living trust or a will. To help you decide which would work best in your situation, here are the pros and cons of each. 

Living Trust

A living trust allows you to transfer your assets to a trust before you die. As a result, the trust would then have ownership of the assets. After you die, the trust can distribute your assets to your heirs. One of the biggest advantages of a trust is that your estate can avoid probate. Avoiding probate means that your heirs are able to take possession of your assets sooner rather than later. 

Another advantage of a living trust is that it is confidential. The trust does not fall under public record, so no one has to know the details of the assets distribution. If your heirs are under the age of 18, the trust can manage their inheritance until a time determined by you. This helps to protect their inheritance and ensure that predatory relatives or friends do not take advantage of them. 

There are some drawbacks to a living trust though. For instance, creating a trust can take time and involves a lot of paperwork. It can also be more expensive than just creating a will. 

If you have underage children, you cannot establish a guardian for them through the trust. You can name someone to manage their inheritance, but the designation of a person to provide day-to-day care is not part of the trust. 


A will operates differently from a living trust in that you do have the option of naming someone to be a guardian for your children. You also do not have to worry about transferring your assets to anyone before you pass away. The executor of your estate will be responsible for handling all of that. 

There is very little paperwork involved with creating a will, which makes it a more cost-effective option. 

On the downside, a will has to go through probate. Depending on the county and state in which you live, this can tie up your assets for months after death. As a result, your heirs will have to wait to receive their inheritances. Probate can also be an expensive process. 

Another disadvantage of a will is that it is considered to be public record. The details of your assets and who was named as an heir could be easily obtained by anyone. 

To fully explore your estate planning options, consult with an attorney, such as Lisa Cappolella Attorney at Law. He or she can help you determine if a will or living trust is best for you.