To Trust or Not to Trust

After working hard all your life it is important to be sure that you know exactly where your things are going once you are gone. The process can seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be. There are two important concepts to understand here: what is a trust, and what is a will?

What is a Trust and What is a Will? defines a trust as “a fiduciary relationship in which one person (the trustee) holds the title to property (the trust estate or trust property) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary).” Having a trust essentially gives you control over who has access to your assets and when they would get that access. This is done by appointing a trustee of your choosing who assures that your wishes are fulfilled the way you want them to be as documented in the trust.

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a will as “a legal declaration of a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death.” Having a will makes everything much easier for your family and loved ones after you pass on. If one fails to create a will, there is no guarantee that their wishes will be carried out.

It is strongly recommended to at least have a will, that way there is some form of documentation stating your wishes and desires. Having both a trust and a will is the most ideal because it leaves less room for interpretation. Having both is the best way to assure that your assets are going to the individuals of your choosing.

What if I Do Not Have a Trust or a Will?

If you do not have a trust or at least a will in the state of California, then the state makes the decisions for you regarding the disposition of your property. This is done through a court process called probate. If you only have a will in place, then you must still go through the probate process to validate the will and distribute the property. Probate is a lengthy and expensive process that is easily avoidable. The probate process can last anywhere from 12 – 18 months and requires an attorney along with an incredible amount of paperwork.

Start Planning Today

It’s never too late to start planning ahead. After a lifetime of working hard for your assets, you deserve to have peace in knowing who gets access to them after you are gone. By investing today to get your estate plan in order, you are ensuring that your future costs are low and your loved ones are saved from any unnecessary hassles in court.

Astria Law Group will help you with all your estate planning needs, ensuring that you have the final say in where your property goes. Contact us today to talk about what your first steps would be.

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