Wills are legal instruments that go into effect upon your death and direct where your property, assets, and benefits are to be distributed. If you have minor-aged children, your will should assign their guardians in the event of your death. Your will should also appoint a legal representative to carry out your wishes. Property held in joint tenancy or in a trust fall outside of a will and can cause legal issues to your estate. Your will can also detail how you want your beneficiaries to use the property you've left them, within reason.
Trusts are effective immediately and can be used to distribute property prior to death. A trust is a legal arrangement through which property and assets are held in the legal title of a trustee. Beneficiaries are established in the trust, and they can collect income from the trust and or have it distributed upon death. When setting up your trust, you should name a trustee. This person will be responsible for the distribution of your assets in accordance with your wishes, the document itself, and its mandates. Trusts are effective ways to control the passing of your estate the way you intended.
Wills and trusts each have advantages and disadvantages. At the Law Offices of W. Steven Chou, we suggest a combination of both instruments to achieve the best possible inheritance tax plan, personal directions for yourself and your family. Start planning for your future today, and see how we can help.
We've spent over 20 years advising individuals in La Palma, San Marino, Irvine, and Cerritos, California, as well as Los Angeles and Orange counties. If you're in the Los Angeles, California, area, contact us today for a free phone or in-person consultation.