Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Do I need a Will or a Trust?

Often times a person wonders whether they need a Will or a Trust.  In most instances, a Trust provides the better protection.  Here are the things you need to consider:

A Will only becomes effective upon death.  Therefore, it does not take care of things such as mental incompetency, etc.  A living Trust becomes effective immediately when you sign it, so it can handle what happens in the event of disability.  This can keep you out of a conservator-ship situation.

In the state of California, if you have more than $150,000 in gross assets, then you definitely should have a living Trust.  It will keep you out of a probate situation.  Probates are drawn out and costly.

If you have real estate, you should have a living Trust.  Owning real estate will normally trigger some type of probate action unless you have a Trust.  If you own real estate in multiple states, you definitely should have a Trust unless you want to go through probate in multiple states.

If you have minor children, you should have a living Trust.  If you have a Will or have done no planning at all, a Court or insurance company will not distribute assets to a minor.  This means that guardian-ships would have to be set up in the Court and then the Court would control that money until the minor turns age 18.  

When the minor turns age 18, then the Court releases the money to the 18 year old, most parents think that age is too young.  You can keep it out of the Court house and control distributions by placing the assets into a living Trust for the minor’s benefit.

A Professional Corporation
Suzanne M. Graves
Attorney & Counselor at Law

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