Answer: False. While both a will and a trust can give instructions about how you want your property to be distributed upon your death, one of the biggest differences between a will and a trust is that a will has no effect until the time of your death. A trust, on the other hand, can be utilized to deal with a period of incapacity (a time where you cannot make or communicate your wishes) that may occur prior to your death, which can be very helpful for loved ones trying to care for you. For example, Son wants to sell Mom’s home to help pay for the cost of an assisted living facility for her. If Mom only has a will, then Son has no power to sell the home and must go to court to be given the authority to act on Mom’s behalf. This situation might be avoided if Son was named as an agent under Mom’s financial power of attorney, but relying on this as the only method can sometimes be problematic. On the other hand, if Mom’s home was owned by her trust, then Son, acting as successor trustee, would have the power and authority to sell Mom’s home without court intervention.

In addition, a will guarantees that your loved ones will have to go through the probate court process upon your death. The executor or personal representative who you have named in your will must be approved and appointed by a probate court to have the power to deal with the property in your estate. On the other hand, when you use a trust and properly fund it, your successor trustee can immediately step in and deal with the property in your trust without any court intervention.