Posted by & filed under Stockton Real Estate.

By Steve

The core of an Estate Plan is designating who is going to get your assets when you die and who is going to represent you to make sure that your wishes are carried out. You have two basic choices: 1) a Will; or 2) a Trust. In today’s Article, I’ll give you an overview of the purpose and most common forms of both documents.

WHAT IS A WILL?
Most of us have heard the term “Will” or “Last Will and Testament” but many don’t know what that exactly means. A Will is simply a document in which you designate who will get your real and personal property upon your death and who will administer your affairs during the process. As such, it is a basic building block of estate planning. If you should die without making such a designation (legally called “intestate”), the laws of the State of California will determine who gets your property regardless of what your unwritten intentions may have been (California does not recognize “oral wills”). All persons related to you through blood or marriage have a claim at law on your estate property including all of your children (natural, adopted, illegitimate, etc.) and their successors if predeceased. Furthermore, if you desire to intentionally omit providing for any child, you must state this intent. In a Will you also designate who should be the Guardian of your minor children.

ADVANTAGES OF A WILL
Creating a Will is a relatively easy matter. You state in writing and in the presence of several witnesses who you want as an administrator and who you want to get your assets when you die. Many low-cost programs and forms are available for this purpose or we can do this for you.

DISADVANTAGES OF A WILL
The biggest disadvantage is that all Wills must be confirmed by a Probate Court. As I described in Part One of this series, this Probate process is generally expensive, time-consuming, and open to the public to see. If your objective is to pass your assets on to your heirs and other beneficiaries as intact as possible, the Probate process will take a chunk out of what you are leaving them.

HOW CAN I AVOID THESE COSTS AND DELAYS?
The easiest way to avoid these costs is through the use of a Revocable Living Trust.

WHAT IS A REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST?
A Revocable Living Trust is a legal entity that you create on paper to …read more

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