Estate planning is the process of preparing for your future to ensure your wishes are respected upon your death or incapacitation. Two essential estate planning tools-regardless of the size of your estate or your circumstances in life-are wills and trusts. Attorney Steven Chou and our legal team can guide you through all of your estate planning-wills and trusts needs.
What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Trust?
A will is a legal document that spells out how you want your assets distributed after you die. This legal instrument only goes into effect upon your death to direct where the property in your name, your assets, and your benefits are to be distributed. Your will also appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. Property held in joint tenancy or in a trust falls outside of a will and can cause legal issues to your estate.
Unlike a will, a trust goes into effect immediately and can be used to distribute property prior to your death. A trust is a legal arrangement through which property and assets are held in legal title. In other words, the ownership of your assets is transferred to a trustee, who then has a fiduciary duty to manage and distribute those assets for the benefit of the named beneficiaries of your trust. Beneficiaries of the trust can either receive income from the trust or distribution upon your death. You can create different types of trusts to achieve different purposes, such as avoiding tax burdens or eliminating the need for probate on your estate.
Wills and trusts each have advantages and disadvantages, so at the Law Offices of W. Steven Chou, we suggest a combination of both instruments as part of your estate planning to achieve the best possible inheritance tax plan and personal directions for yourself and your family.
Do I Need Both A Will And A Trust In My Estate Planning Documents?
You only get one chance to distribute your assets to your loved ones, one chance to ensure your final wishes are honored and your family is protected. For that reason, a comprehensive estate plan will contain not only a will, but also at least one type of trust and numerous other documents aimed at expressing your wishes and helping your family avoid the expense of probate once you're gone.
Our California wills & trusts attorney at the Law Offices of Steven W. Chou specializes in estate planning and creating trusts to meet your unique goals and needs for your loved ones.
The Law Offices Of Steven W. Chou - Estate Planning Focused
The wills and trust attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven W. Chou are dedicated to providing knowledgeable legal advice and personalized attention when it comes to preparing for the future. Ranked amongst the best trusts lawyers & law firms, attorney Steven Chou and our legal team offer creative and comprehensive solutions for your estate planning needs based on your unique circumstances.
If you've experienced a major life event since you created your will or if you have not yet organized your estate planning documents, we'd love to meet with you to discuss your long-term needs and goals in more detail. We're proud to serve La Palma, Irvine, and all of Orange County, California.
Call (714) 367-8460 for a consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.