What are the Differences Between Wills and Revocable Living Trusts?

Both wills and trusts outline who should receive your assets when you die. If you die without a will or trust in place, your property will pass via the pre-determined “intestate succession” rules under Oregon law. If you want to control disposition of your own assets rather than the de facto plan, you will need to create an estate plan centered on either a will or trust.

Most people have a general concept of a will. This formal document names the beneficiaries of your assets and appoints a personal representative to distribute those assets and otherwise wrap up your affairs under the close supervision of the probate court (more on this below). A will depends on the court process to become fully implemented.

As its name suggests, a revocable living trust is a trust you create during your lifetime by transferring assets to a trustee. The trust holds and manages these assets for your benefit during your life and then distributes them to your beneficiaries after you die. Most people who create revocable living trusts serve as the initial trustee and name successor trustees to replace them at death or when they become incompetent to serve. With a revocable living trust, you maintain full control of your assets. A probate is not required to distribute assets after you die and the administration takes place privately.