13th Jan 2013
A Living Trust or a Will? You may want to prepare a Living Trust as a way of avoiding probate. However, please note that a Living trust will involve more upfront effort and expense. Hence, there may be cases when drafting a Will may be the more appropriate option. To find out if you should exert the additional effort and put in the upfront expense for a Living Trust, here are a few questions you may want to consider (For assistance, you may want to consult a probate attorney in Orange County.).
How much is your estate worth? Below you’ll find a certain threshold, where you can avoid probate. In California, if your estate has a value of $150,000.00, you can prepare an affidavit certifying said appraised value. You do not need to have a Living Trust. However, you would do well to have a Will so that your estate would not have to go into intestacy after you die. This means that the transfer of assets will pass through a state-mandated line of succession. This may not be what you wish for your heirs.
Are your children of minor age? A Living Trust affords you the flexibility especially in such cases when you have children of minor age.
Do you have heirs or beneficiaries with special needs? “Special needs” here refer to health conditions such as disabilities or infirmities brought about by old age or other factors, necessitating special care. A Will alone will not allow you to exercise control over the use of your property. In a Living Trust, you can actually put provisions putting limits on how the inheritance which can be spent so as to allocate financial resources for those with special needs. In Orange County, an estate planning lawyer can help you draft a living trust especially when your beneficiaries have distinct requirements.
Do you see yourself “hands-on” in managing your estate plan? A Living Trust involves constant planning, reviewing – and funding. It requires a person who is :hands-on” in making his final plans, If you prefer making a plan and keeping it pretty much as is with very little changes throughout the years, then you are better off with a Will.
So, again we go back to the question: what is best, a Living Trust or a Will? While there are several benefits to a Living Trust, foremost of which is the avoidance of probate, it entails much upfront work and expense and supervision. It all depends on your estate planning objectives.
When deciding on a final plan, consider your objectives and your requirements. What may be appropriate for another individual may not be suitable for you. Your estate plan should be prepared in a way that best meets the needs of you and your family. You can actually have a plan drafted that fits your objectives. For more information contact our firm for a free 30 minute consultation to help you answer these very questions.