Imagine that you had a toolbox that contained a hammer and a screwdriver and someone asked you which tool was better. The question would be impossible to answer because each tool does something different.
Estate planning documents such as wills and trusts are tools that you use to sort out your affairs so that they will be in order upon your death. Some people try to say that one is better than the other, but that is not accurate because they are tools that accomplish different things. The American Bar Association describes some things a will can do that a trust cannot.
Name a guardian for minor children
If you have children who are under the age of 18, you can set up a trust to provide for them financially in the event of your death. However, a trust only manages assets on your children’s behalf; it has no bearing on who will be responsible for their day-to-day care. Only a will can name a guardian for minor children. Therefore, as a parent, you should make out a will regardless of whether you also create a trust for your children.
Distribute assets not included in a trust
You can create a living trust that allows you to keep making changes to it as long as you are still alive. Nevertheless, chances are good that, upon your death, you may have assets that you have not yet added to the trust. You can create a will that provides instructions for the distribution of those assets.
The name for this is a pour-over will, and it can help make the probate process a little easier for your heirs.