i. What is the difference between a will and trust?
A Revocable Living Trust (“RLT”) is a common estate planning tool which allows a person (“Grantor” or “Settlor”) to place his or her assets in trust and provide for the distribution of those assets upon death without the necessity of opening a probate proceeding. During his or her lifetime and as long as he or she has the requisite capacity, the Grantor retains the right to amend and revoke the RLT. The Grantor can designate a successor trustee(s) to administer the RLT in times of incapacity and after the Grantor’s death.
A Will is another common estate planning tool which allows a person (“Testator”) to provide for the distribution of Testator’s estate upon death. Testator’s estate includes assets that were not placed in trust during his/her lifetime and assets that do not have a beneficiary designation. Unlike a Revocable Living Trust, a Will must go through probate to be enforced. A “pour-over” will is often executed at the same time as a Trust to provide that any assets not placed in the Trust will be “poured over” into the Trust upon the Testator’s death.