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Protecting Your Legacy With A Will Or Trust

Dying without a trust or a will (intestate) puts a great strain on your family after you’re gone. When you die intestate, your family must deal with probate court for nine months to several years. At Rita Holder Law, we have seen far too many people in our community land in probate court due to a to a loved one who failed to do any estate planning.

Wills and trusts are almost always cheaper than paying for probate when a loved one dies intestate. California law outlines a fee structure for probate based on the size of the estate. You can expect your family to pay anywhere from 4% to 10% of the value of your estate in fees as they watch a judge decide who should inherit your money, property and other assets.

Wills And Trusts As Planning Tools

Wills and trusts are similar in that they are both legal documents that detail how assets should be passed down to beneficiaries. Each plan names a person in charge of carrying out directives, an executor in wills and a trustee in trusts. However, there are many differences between how and when assets are distributed, whether health care instructions can be included and whether the estate must be made public. Depending on your goals, there advantages and disadvantages to each planning tool.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Wills And Trusts

One key difference between wills and trusts is that a will goes through probate (for a shorter period of time and at significantly less cost than for people who die intestate) and becomes part of the public record while a trust remains private. In addition, wills only take effect after you die while trusts allow you to distribute assets while you’re alive, as well as after you are gone.

Trusts are often used to plan for a disability or provide for people who are unable to support themselves. Unlike trusts, a will allows you to name a guardian for your minor children if you and your child’s other parent are both deceased. Many people with larger estates choose to have both a will and a trust.

For Guidance On Estate Planning, Contact Rita Holder Law

At Rita Holder Law, we can help you evaluate your financial situation and determine whether a will or trust (or both) is right for you. Contact Rita Holder Law at 925-401-7885 or complete our online contact form for an initial consultation.