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A Will and a Trust are both documents that direct what happens to a person or family’s estate. The main difference between a Will and a Trust is that a Will becomes effective when someone passes away, while a Trust becomes effective when it is created (and signed).
There is a common misconception that a Will is sufficient to avoid Probate (Ramzan, there will be a hyperlink here linked to the page “PROBATE”) in California. If you own property over $150,000, a Trust is the best instrument to avoid Probate. If you own property under $150,000, a Will is usually sufficient.
A Will directs distribution of assets after the passing of its creator and appoints an “executor” to carry out those wishes. A Trust on the other hand, can provide for assets to be distributed during the creator’s life, or after, and it can direct the frequency and way in which those assets are distributed by the “trustee.” A trustee is the person or institution appointed to carry out the directions in the Trust.