During the estate planning process, you will likely create a will that lays out important information about how to handle your property after you pass.
You may want to consider another option for transferring your estate after your death. A trust is a fiduciary relationship, defined in a legal document, that grants a trustee the authority to distribute assets as directed. While very similar to a will, there are unique benefits associated with this estate planning tool.
What are the advantages of a trust?
In California, a will must go through probate after your death. Probate is the time-consuming and sometimes expensive legal process of transferring the property of the deceased to the beneficiaries. With a trust, your beneficiaries can avoid probate altogether and take possession of the property right away.
A trust is also a private document, whereas a will and the probable process are matters of public record.
If I have set up a trust, do I still need a will?
Many people who set up a trust still need a will because there are some things a trust can not do. For example, you may need a will to appoint a guardian for minor children.
If you do not put everything you own into the trust, you will likely want a will to apportion the remaining property.
Though no one enjoys planning for when they are no longer here, setting up the right plan now will save your loved ones from even greater stress and suffering after you pass.