When it comes to estate planning in California, many individuals may mistakenly believe that once they have prepared a last will and testament, they are all set. However, there are actually a variety of estate planning tools that can provide benefits and options to meet each individual’s specific needs, not the least of which is a revocable trust. With the help of a knowledgeable attorney to make trust preparation less complicated, trusts can prove extremely useful in estate planning.
Wills are important, and most individuals should have one. They act as an official statement to the court to explicitly communicate a deceased individual’s wishes as to how his or her assets should be passed on to beneficiaries. However, wills are still subject to the probate process, meaning that the estate will be required to go through the probate process, typically with the aid of a lawyer, before heirs are able to receive any inheritance.
Many individuals wish to avoid probate because it is often time consuming and expensive. However, a properly drafted revocable trust not only circumvents probate, but allows for greater asset control than some may realize. The creator of the trust can name him or herself trustee, meaning that, during his or her lifetime, a revocable trust is just that: revocable. The grantor, as trustee, has complete control and can make changes to the property put into the trust.
While in-depth estate planning may sound a bit confusing or even overwhelming, a California attorney can help with trust preparation, the transfer of assets and more to make the process as smooth as possible. Both wills and trusts have their own benefits and can prove useful in helping individuals accomplish specific estate planning goals. With experienced legal guidance, a small amount of proper planning now can help save a lot of time and money later for loved ones and beneficiaries.
Source: tcpalm.com, “Misconceptions about wills and trusts“, Robert D. Schwartz, June 16, 2017