Wills and Trusts

An attorney writing on a documentThe Role of Wills and Trusts in Estate Planning

There are several aspects involved in estate planning. One is to ensure you are cared for if you become incapacitated or you find it difficult to care for yourself. The other main objective of estate planning is to look out for the welfare of your loved ones after you pass away. These goals are primarily accomplished through the use of documents such as wills and trusts. An estate planning attorney can tell you more about these important documents.

Wills and Trusts in Palm Desert

Your will contains your wishes concerning how your property and money is distributed upon your death and comes into effect automatically when you pass away. If you die without a will, also referred to as dying intestate, the courts decide how to distribute your money and assets. This is referred to as probate, and the latter is a public process that is both time-consuming and costly. For this reason, you may wish to avoid probate by having the aforementioned documents in place.

Drafting a Will

More than 50 percent of Americans do not have a last will and testament, which is virtually always a mistake. Regardless of whether your estate is small or large, someone must handle your financial affairs after you pass away. If a will exists that clearly spells out your last wishes, it can eliminate a significant amount of stress for the survivors.

Facts About Trusts

Trusts are documents that may help you avoid probate as well. When a living trust is established, your estate can circumvent probate and the fees and inconveniences with which it is associated. This means that property and money can be transferred to beneficiaries without the involvement of the courts. Money and property are placed into a trust, and the name on the deed and other accounts is transferred to your trust’s name. These assets are then managed by the trustee. You are your own trustee while you are still living and able to manage your affairs. If you reach a point where you are no longer able to manage your affairs or pass away successor trustee to designated, a successor trustee that you have designated takes over such tasks. There are several kinds of trusts and each one serves a specific purpose.

An estate planning lawyer is a bar-certified legal professional whose specialty is all facets of estate planning. Lawyers who specialize in such matters usually draft and implement legal documents, including power of attorney forms, wills, and documents involving trust funds.

Although estate planning tips are available online or from other sources, it is always wise to obtain advice from a Palm Desert estate planning attorney with regard to such matters.