Many times clients will ask us, what is the difference between a will and a trust and what we tell them is this- both instruments are the foundation of a comprehensive and well planned estate. However, a will does not avoid probate.
A will is a written document- signed and witnessed- that indicates how your property will be distributed at the time of your death. It is revocable and subject to amendment at any time during your lifetime. It also allows you to appoint a guardian for your minor children.
A living trust provides lifetime and after-death property management. If you are serving as your own trustee, the trust instrument will provide for a successor upon your death or incapacity. Court intervention is not required. Livings trusts also are used to manage property. If a person is disabled by accident or illness, the successor trustee can manage the trust property. As a result, the expense, publicity, and inconvenience of court-supervised distribution of your estate can be avoided
If a living trust is properly written and funded you can:
· Avoid probate on your assets;
· Plan for the possibility of your own incapacity;
· Control what happens to your property after you are gone;
· Use it for any size estate; and
· Prevent your financial affairs from becoming a matter of public record.
Although a living trust costs more than a will alone, if created properly, it avoids probate.
Contact one of our attorneys by visiting www.carmenrosaslaw.com, creating a client account, or by calling our office at 650-503-3770. Our main office is located in Redwood City but we have a satellite office in San Jose and where necessary will do home visits.