When it comes to having effective tools for your estate planning in place a living trust will work more effectively than just having a Will. There are three simple and yet most important factors to consider here to weigh importance of Living Trust over Will instrument:

1) Privacy: When you die with only a testamentary Will in place, your Will is admitted to California probate court for its administration. Your Will is going to be subject of probate process which is open to public and all the probate affairs of your probate proceeding and administration including any Will contest will be open and available to public. So, your family, friends and heirs who are to take under your Will may not want to bear the public intrusion into some of your estate administration. If you find the privacy of importance to you and your heirs, then you should consider using a Living Trust in conjunction with creating your Last Will and Testament.

2) Mental or Physical Disability: Another factor to consider is if you become mentally and/or physically handicapped and unable to make decision or act for yourself. Contrary to some people’s misconception, your Will only become effective upon your death and not any time before. Therefore, if you should become disabled and unable to make decision for yourself, your assets and your family affairs (guardianships) are assigned to state probate system for administration. Your Will is ignored until the time of your death. On the other hand, if you have a Living Trust in place already it will help to prevent having your assets and family affairs to be subject of probate process. Your Living Trust trustee rather than the probate court will be responsible for administration and distribution of your assets and other assigned duties under your Living Trust.

3) Probate Process: A living trust allows for transfer of all your assets into trust, and the named trustee will hold legal title for the benefit of the beneficiary. During your life, you can be the acting trustee, and after your death, your co-trustee or successor trustee will take over the trustee duties in administrating and distributing trust assets to named beneficiaries. With the living trust, there is no need for probate process, because your assets have been already transferred to the trust during your lifetime and there is no need for probate process.

There are number of different trust tools, but most commons are Revocable Living Trust and Irrevocable Trust. Each of them happen to have their own use and effects in helping to address your estate planning goals. In order to select a proper estate planning tools for yourself and your family, contact an experienced estate planning attorney in your area for more information.

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