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What is a Trust vs a Will?

Published: January 28, 2019
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Both trusts and wills are used in estate planning. Both are used to name your beneficiaries and which beneficiaries will receive your assets after you are gone.

The paths your beneficiaries will take with a trust and a will are, however, quite different.


A living trust (revocable or irrevocable) is not subject to probate. A will is subject to probate. This is the main difference between the two estate planning tools.

  • While attorney’s fees for setting up a trust are often more than a will, having your assets in a living trust can speed up the time it will take for your beneficiaries to actually receive assets you want them to inherit.
  • Fees to execute the trust’s terms are minimal, if any. The successor trustee will simply fulfill the terms of the trust and make the asset transfers happen to the beneficiaries.
  • Probate of a will can last at least one year.
  • Once probate begins, your estate will incur attorney’s fees and other expenses, such as asset appraisal fees. The probate court may set a cap on the fees your estate will incur during probate.


Your revocable or irrevocable trust is active once you’ve signed it. A will takes effect upon your death.

Two examples:

  1. Your trust designates your son as a co- trustee of your trust. If you are no longer able to make decisions about finances–let’s say you have a chronic illness or an accident–your son can immediately and legally continue to take the financial reins–without going to court or any other entity to give your son the power to do this.
  2. If you have a disabled child a trust can be set up to fund and to oversee their care. You and your successor trustee(s) can be legally empowered to make decisions about the child’s well-being, education and care throughout your child’s entire lifetime.


Since a living trust isn’t subject to probate court, it is a private matter between the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiaries. No one outside of those mentioned in the trust can find out the value of your assets, how much was given to your beneficiaries, or any other details.

What happens in a probate court is public record.

Contact Scott D. Bloom law for more information about using a trust in your estate plan.


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CLIENT Testimonial

Scott Bloom Law Estate Planning Diagram

Sometimes after a loved one passes away, the family learns of things they were unaware of while the loved one was living. This was the case for one of our clients, Sam, after his father Tom Jr. passed away. Sam was always under the impression that the home he had grown up in, and that his father had lived in until his death, was owned by Tom Jr. To say it came as a surprise that it was indeed Sam’s grandfather, Tom Sr., who was the actual owner of the home, is an understatement. 

Apparently, when Tom Sr. had passed away nearly 40 years ago, there was no proper estate plan established. Now, Sam would need to open his grandfather’s estate, resolve tax issues that were never addressed, and then go through the legal process to make the home a part of his father’s estate. At first, Sam believed that the entire process would be easy enough for him to handle on his own. However, after digging a little deeper, he quickly realized he would need the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

Sam reached out to Scott Bloom Law and we developed a game plan for moving forward. We began by probating Tom Jr.’s will and, after some time, we were able to settle the estates of both Tom Sr. and Tom Jr. While it was no fault of Sam, this is a great example of the importance of having an Estate Plan in place. No one wants to leave their families in precarious situations after they pass. The long-term purpose of setting up an Estate Plan today is to preserve as much of your wealth as possible for the intended beneficiaries and retaining a capable attorney can help ensure all of your wishes are met.

At Scott Bloom Law, we are a team of advocates who care, always fighting for what’s best for our clients and their families. With knowledge, experience, and compassion, we strive to find solutions that make the aging process as emotionally and financially easy as possible. Visit us at or call 215-364-1111, to talk to find out more.

- Case Study: Estate Administration

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CLIENT Testimonial

Attorney Scott Bloom is a God send in difficult times. He is caring, knowledgeable, answers questions promptly with clarity, honesty, and accuracy. Scott is compassionate and works with the client as if he is part of the family. I consider myself blessed to have found Mr. Bloom to take care of my family's elder care business.
- Nahla F., Upper Freehold, New Jersey

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