Are you in the process of setting up your estate plan, but not sure about the right way to do it? IF so, it will help to know the differences between using a will or a trust.

1. Cost

There are costs involved to set up a will and a trust. Overall, you'll find that a will should be more affordable, especially for those people who have small estates. You can expect to pay between around $300 for a will to be created, which is primarily the hours involved by a lawyer to create the documents for you. 

However, a trust is a much more complicated legal matter, and the cost to set it up will cost more money. Expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 for a lawyer to set up your trust. 

2. Probate

One of the biggest differences between a will in a trust is how probate is handled. With a will, your estate will need to go through the probate process. This means that the will must be verified and the court will help with distributing assets from the estate. While a will is the fastest easiest way to handle estate planning, it results in the slowest way to actually settle an estate after you pass away.

A trust will speed up the asset distribution process by avoiding probate entirely. Assets will be distributed in a few months rather than years, and you won't have to go through the court to do it all. Less money will also be spent on dividing the estate since probate is avoided. 

3. Privacy

If privacy matters to you, it is very important to know the difference between how a will and trust handle privacy. A will is not going to have any privacy, since the will becomes public record. If someone wants to dig deep enough, they can figure out what assets were distributed in the will and who they went to.

A trust offers privacy, since the assets in the trust and who belongs to the trust are not public record. This can be great if you prefer your estate to not be made public after you pass away. 

Not sure if you should use a will or a trust? Meet with a local estate planning service for a consultation. A lawyer can help guide you to which one will work best for your specific estate planning needs.