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Do I Need A Will Or A Living Trust?

By Joseph Novel August 7, 2019 Posted in General

Everyone needs to take care of their estate planning needs. Deciding if you need a last will or a living trust can be a confusing thing. In California, laws allow you to use a living trust, a will, or both documents in your estate planning. To determine which will work better for your needs – a will or a living trust – you need to understand the differences between the documents so you can tell which will best suit your needs.

The Specifics of a California Will

A will is a document that leaves specific instructions for how you want things carried out after your death. These instructions will include which people and charitable organizations are to receive your property, which property, and how much of it. California law allows you to designate an executor, who will carry out the wishes and orders as you indicate them in your will. You can also appoint a guardian for your minor children, beneficiaries for any personal property, real estate, and your financial assets after your death.

The Specifics of a California Living Trust

You create a living trust – as the name implies – while you are living. You put the property into the trust, and your designated trustee manages it on behalf of the beneficiaries that you select. Living trusts allow you to pass on your property to beneficiaries when you die without needing a will or without having to incorporate the probate process. You can use a living trust to make sure an individual that you trust manages your assets if you become incapacitated before your death.

Combining the Will and Living Trust

You can use a living trust in conjunction with a will if you wish, according to California state law. There are benefits to using both. You can use the will to name a guardian and executor, which you can’t do with the trust.

The trust, however, allows you to transfer your property directly to your beneficiaries without it going through probate, which the will would require. If you have young children, you can use the will to name a guardian for the children and use the living trust to provide funds for the care of the children and any future expenses, such as educational expenses. When you have minor children, your estate can benefit by incorporating both documents.

Other Things To Take Into Consideration During Estate Planning

When deciding if you need a living trust or a will or both, you should look at your overall situation. While not all California residents need a living trust, some can benefit significantly from adding the document to their estate plans. To determine which is best for your California estate planning needs, you should consult with an attorney who handles estate planning.

Regardless of your age or assets, you need to plan so your wishes can be followed through with after your death. Proper estate planning can be very beneficial to your loved ones and help reduce their stress levels during a trying time. If you would like to learn whether a living trust or a will works best for your estate planning needs, call Bridge Legal, APLC (310) 598-7191 today.

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