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Understanding Estate Planning vs. Wills vs. Trusts

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | Estate Planning |

California residents might have a hard time getting an estate plan started. Not only can it be an emotionally draining process, but there are a lot of steps to carefully consider.

Most people don’t think of estate planning as being more than setting up a will. But for people with a lot of assets and people they want to pass things down to, the process can be a lot more complicated.

What does a will cover?

A will is a document that lists out your last wishes and instructions for your remaining assets and property. The will serves as an instruction guide for what property should go to which relative, as well as any instructions beyond that.

A will is the absolute bare minimum estate planning tool. Without a will, all of your assets and property will go through probate court, possibly costing your loved ones thousands of dollars.

It’s not enough just to write a will. A will must be verified in court in order to be considered valid and if this process isn’t complete, the will could get thrown out the window.

What other estate planning tools are there?

The other estate planning tool that is used commonly are trusts. There are several different types of trusts that can be used depending on how many assets you have and how you want your property to be distributed.

Many trusts can be updated right up until the point of your death. Trusts can also give you more control over how the property is distributed – allowing you to distribute funds to relatives slowly, even years after your death.

Which one is right for me?

Figuring out which estate planning tools are right for you can be hard. It’s important to look at all assets and the needs of your family before making a decision.