12 Dec Tips for Deciding on Whether You Need a Will or a Trust
You do not always need an attorney to complete a will or a trust. Professional document preparation can save you a considerable amount of money over having an attorney draw up all of your paperwork. Take a look at this information overview on wills and trusts to determine if a professional preparer is the right choice for you. We can also help you find an attorney in the event you need legal advice.
Probate involves the court to handle the estate of someone who is deceased. The court may determine if a will is valid and handle the process of transferring property. Full probate in the courts will occur when an individual’s assets and property are valued at more than $150,000. This process can take nine months to over 1 1/2 years. Probate can be avoided with a trust.
With a will you can name your beneficiaries and direct what you wish to be done with your assets. You can name someone to handle your assets. If you have children under 18, you can name a guardian. Wills for those with few assets and no property are generally simple. A will is not a “living will” or Do Not Resuscitate form. This is covered under a health care directive.
When you have more assets or a home, you should consider a living trust. With a trust, all of your assets and property are put into the trust. While you are living, you can be the trustee that manages your assets. When you pass, your assets will be transferred to your beneficiaries. Equally important, a trust can handle your affairs if you become incapacitated. A living trust can help your heirs avoid a lengthy probate process.
There are other forms you may need when making decisions about a will or trust. These include :
- A Power of Attorney form is used to designate an individual that you allow to represent you for legal matters. The individual can sign legal documents and make decisions on your behalf.
- An advanced healthcare directive is the type of form used to state that you do not want life-sustaining medical care used. You can also designate someone to make health choices for you in the event of incapacitation.
- A HIPAA Authorization is used to allow disclosure of personal medical information that may be required for your health care.
California Document Preparers is a legal document assistance company. While we can provide you with information, we cannot advise you on legal matters. If your situation is complicated, you should seek the advice of an attorney. We can still help you complete your documents and we file the required documents with the court system. Our trust package may be what you need to cover your affairs. This package includes the will paperwork and a revocable living trust. The living trust can be completed for $499 plus $120 per property owned.
Sources: http://www.courts.ca.gov/8865.htm, http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Pamphlets/LivingTrust.aspx, ,