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Should you set up a living trust or a will?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2023

You’ve worked hard and accumulated a significant amount of assets. Consequently, you are concerned about what will become of your assets when you pass on. Fortunately, there is something you can do about this. It is called estate planning.

Some of the estate planning tools you can use to manage and/or distribute your assets are a will and a living trust. Whereas you can use either tool, or both, it helps to understand the difference between a living trust and a will so you can make an informed decision.

How California wills work

A will serves one primary purpose: articulating how the assets within your estate will be distributed when you die. If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed per California intestate laws. For your California will to be enforceable, however, it must be valid. This means that you must be at least 18 at the time of signing the document, your will must be witnessed by at least two non-interested parties and you must have the testamentary capacity to sign the will.

How living trusts work in California

It is not uncommon for some Californians to set up revocable trusts rather than wills. While a will simply talks about what will happen to your estate upon your demise, a living trust goes a step further to determine how the assets that are held in it will be managed whilst you’re alive. And upon your death, assets that are held in the trust will be exempt from probate.

So which estate planning tool is right for you?

You need to take several factors into account when choosing the right estate planning tool for your needs. These include the types of assets in question, the size of your estate and your estate planning goals.

Safeguarding your legacy

Estate planning is one of the most responsible decisions you can ever make. Learning more about California estate planning laws can help you make an informed decision and create an estate plan that will safeguard your legacy.