Can a Last Will Be Used to Set Up a Trust?

While it is legally possible, Standard Legal believes that a Last Will & Testament is most appropriate for designating beneficiaries and for outlining the desired methods of distribution of property upon death, but not for creating a Trust.

Standard Legal offers Revocable Living Trust legal forms software to allow for parents or a family to provide for their children should they die while the children are minors.

We have chosen NOT to create Testamentary Trusts — a type of Trust that is created through a Will after the death of the decedent — for several reasons.


– A Testamentary Trust must be submitted to probate, as the Trust itself is not “funded” with property until after the death of the decedent. Probate costs money and takes time to administer. Living Trusts, on the other hand, are created while the Grantor is living and, in most cases, property is transferred to the Trust in advance of the Grantor’s death. Assets held in the Trust are not subject to the probate process.

– The terms of a Testamentary Trust become public records, as the Will containing the Trust language must be submitted to or filed with the Probate Court – and Probate Court records are public records allowing anyone with any interest to review the filed Will.

Standard Legal believes that most users are best served by deciding on using either a Will or a Trust to distribute property after death, then creating the appropriate document set from there.