Wills & Trusts
Estate Planning Attorneys Protecting the Legacy of Individuals and Families Throughout California
Wills and trusts are estate planning tools that both individuals and families can use to safeguard their assets and protect their legacy. They set forth exactly how your property and valuables will be distributed to loved ones and also dictate who will take over any business ventures. Naturally, establishing a will or trust requires careful planning to ensure your goals and wishes are carried out exactly as you would like in the event of your passing.
Kevin Jamison Law, PC is dedicated to assisting clients establish both wills and trusts. Our team understands exactly what is at stake and will guide you through the entire process, explaining your choices and making sure you decide upon an option that best represent your needs.
The Difference Between Wills and Trusts
A will is a legal document that expresses your wishes and how they are to be carried out in the event of your passing. Most commonly, wills establish how your property and assets will be distributed after death. The creator of the will names who their beneficiaries will be and exactly what assets will be passed to whom. You can also nominate executors (representatives) in a will, outline instructions for memorial observances, burial or cremation wishes, and can also designate guardians for younger children. Wills go into effect only at the time of death.
Trusts, in contrast, become effective the moment they are created. A trust is a legal fiduciary arrangement whereby one party (the trustor) grants another party (the trustee) rights to hold or manage property and assets on behalf of the ultimate recipient of said property and assets (the beneficiary). Whereas a will serves to explain the wishes of the deceased (which may or may not be financial in nature), a trust dictates who will be responsible for the distribution and management of property and assets as well as details what should happen in the event of your incapacitation.
Another main difference between wills and trusts is how they are executed. Wills must pass through probate, which means that a California court must oversee the administration of the will, establish its validity and ensure the deceased’s wishes are carried out as specified in the document. A trust does not require probate, which can ultimately save money for families. Additionally, wills become public documents, whereas trusts remain private.
Types of Trusts
There are several types of trusts that can be established. Below are some of the most common:
- Living Trust (Revocable Trust): Also known as a revocable trust or inter-vivos trust, a living trust is a document that is established during your lifetime. You dictate how your assets are to be transferred and to whom after your passing. This is the most common type of trust and can be modified throughout your lifetime.
- Irrevocable Trust: In contrast to a revocable trust, as the name implies, cannot be changed once it is established or after the trustor’s passing.
- Joint Trust: Joint trusts are favorable options for couples who hold assets together. In a joint trust, both parties are trustees. should one party become incapacitated or pass, the other will become the sole trustee.
Why Create a Will or Trust?
Without a will or trust in place, in the event of your passing, your property and assets will be under the control of California courts. The courts will determine what happens to your property – which may not be in alignment with how you would have chosen your legacy to carry on. In addition, a trust can help you save money in taxes and avoid the costs and time associated with probate.
Obtain Assistance With Drafting a Will or Trust in California Today
Whether you are interested in establishing a will, trust or both, the California estate planning lawyers at KJ Law can outline your options and protect your rights and possessions. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (626) 314-1830 or contact us online. For your convenience, we offer house calls and after-hours appointments.