A last will and testament (a will) is the basic building block of estate planning. This legal document enables the testator, or the person creating it, to designate who gets what assets when they’re gone.
A living trust is an alternative to a last will and testament that accomplishes the same goal of distributing assets to beneficiaries upon one’s death but also has the added advantage of avoiding probate proceedings. The person creating the trust is called the settlor or grantor, who remains the trustee while he or she is alive. The settlor transfers all assets into the trust and then manages them while he or she is alive.