By now readers of this Torrance-based estate planning and probate legal blog know that it is a good idea to have some estate plan in place. This is because death will eventually happen to everyone, regardless of their age and health. When it does, those who have their estate plans in place will have a say in just how their wealth and assets are distributed among their loved ones.
Wills are a popular testamentary tool, but readers may also be familiar with living trusts. Both devices give guidance on what should happen to a decedent's estate when they pass, and this post will touch on some of the ways that they are different. Readers should get independent legal advice, however, when creating their own estate plans as this post should not be read as legal advice.
One of the biggest differences between a will and a living trust is when each becomes effective. For example, a will only become operational when a person dies. A living trust, however, can be funded and modified during a person's lifetime.
Also, while a living trust does not have to go through the probate process, a will generally does. A will may therefore become public as it sits in the probate courts, while a living trust may stay relatively private due to its structure and administration.
There are important roles that living trusts and wills serve in the estate plans of California residents. Those who are ready to start preparing their end of life estates may wish to consider meeting with estate planning attorneys to better understand what tools may best serve their individual needs.