Wills and Trusts
How Wills and Trusts Affect Estate Planning
Two important factors in estate planning are wills and trusts. The former refers to a person’s last will and testament, and it contains the wishes of that person with regard to a variety of aspects. If you die intestate, meaning that you passed away without a will, your estate will be settled by the courts. An estate planning attorney in Southern California can assist you to draw up a will and other pertinent documents so that you and your loved ones are protected in the event of your death.
Last Will and Testament
If you pass away, you likely want a will in place that contains the following:
- A designated guardian for your children
- How you want to distribute your property and real estate
- The details of how you want your possessions distributed and to whom
- The name of the person you choose as an executor
Keep in mind that if you do not have a will that names an executor, the court will decide how to distribute your assets. This is called probate court, and it is usually recommended that you avoid it if at all possible. This is because the courts often end up making decisions that are different from what the deceased would have wanted. In addition, it is a public process that you may feel invades the privacy of you and your loved ones. Having a will in place is the best way for you to avoid this scenario.
In general terms, a trust is a legal relationship in which one person, typically called a trustee, holds property for a future beneficiary. You are considered the grantor, and you are the one who places your own money or property into the trust. Naturally, while you are alive, you are the trustee. When you pass away, the person you chose in advance to be the trustee takes over the management of the property for the appropriate beneficiary. The property you place in a trust can be virtually anything at all, including personal possessions, automobiles, business interests, stocks, real estate, and of course, money. Make sure you choose a trustee carefully, as this person is taking on a big responsibility.
Life never gives much warning when someone is going to die or become incapacitated. Therefore, planning in advance is the best way to protect both yourself and your loved ones and beneficiaries. Contact a Long Beach estate planning attorney who can assist you with documents such as a trust or a last will and testament. This will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing these tasks are in the hands of an expert.