LA Probate Law: Living Will vs. Living Trust
Simply put, estate planning is the process of getting all your assets and affairs in order for when you pass away. To make sure that your family is provided for and that they will not have deal with legalities at a time when they can least handle dealing with it. This is usually done through living trusts and wills. The concept of estate planning may seem fairly straightforward, but it can be a very complex matter. It’s not as simple as dictating who gets what. The larger the estate the more complex it can become. Regardless of the size of your estate, this matter should be handled with the help of an attorney who understands LA Probate Law. Many things have to be considered when you are preparing your estate plan, including but not limited to, the value and types of assets you have, current and future income, distribution desires, your mental and physical condition and objectives such as leaving a legacy, providing for charities, taking care of your children and grandchildren or providing for someone with special needs. Many people don’t think there is a real need for a living trust. It is commonly believed that all one really needs is a living will to take care of their loved ones, and that trusts are only going to benefit a person who is wealthy. This may be true in some cases but it can often lead to unexpected results.
A Living Will is a legal document that goes into detail about how you would like your assets and properties distributed and handled upon your death. This is a process that is referred to as probate. The will is sent through probate court for administration after your death. An executor is someone you have named in your will who will oversee and managing your affairs as the will progresses through probate. The court will oversee the payments of your outstanding debts and distribution of your assets as you have deemed in your will. This process can usually take a minimum of a couple months and it is wise for the executor to hire a lawyer to see that he is doing everything properly avoiding any mistakes that could cause legal ramifications for him. This lawyer needs to understand LA Probate Law in order to help steer the executor in the right direction. Once the Will has been submitted to the court it becomes public record and this can prove inconvenient for a family who desire privacy in their financial affairs.
A living trust is also a legal document that details how you want your estate and affairs distributed and handled upon your death, however, unlike a will, a living trust does not go through the probate process. The trustee, in a Living Trust is the person named to handle the affairs. This person is responsible for managing the trust until the time in which it expires, according to the trust terms. These assets can be distributed all at one time or you can set it up to be slowly distributed over a number of years. This gives you the ability to remain in control over your assets even after your death. You can also place specific restrictions on the trust, in order to protect it from collectors and make sure that all your objectives have been met. The biggest aspect of this is that unlike the living will, the trust doesn’t go through probate court, therefor remains private and out of the public eye. It never becomes public record says LA Probate Law.
How Do I Know If I Need a Will or Trust?
There are several things to take into consideration when deciding whether you would be better off with a trust or a will. Some things you need to consider are the value of the estate itself. For an estate that doesn’t own any real property and is worth less than $20,000, there will not be any large amount of hold up in probate court minimizing that process. For estates of this size it is recommended that a simple will is enough to suffice. Hiring an LA Probate Law attorney can help in making this decision. For those who do own real property and their estate is worth more than $20,000, probate can become more costly and complicated. For these situations you would probably be better off going with a Living Trust. While it is usually more expensive to set up a Living Trust than it is a Living Will but when you compare this difference the minimal savings is easily offset by the high expense and burden of going through probate court. Your present and future affairs will really dictate how you should best plan your estate. These two different legal processes have many similarities and differences and all circumstances should be considered when making the choice of which one would better suit your needs and your estate. There are benefits to each one and there also negatives that each process can create for different estates. Some people find that the privacy issue in itself is enough to make the decision for them…while others look at other aspects to use as determining factors. Either way you choose to go remember that each case and estate is unique in itself and cannot be compared to the experience of someone else.
LA Probate Law: Living Will vs. Living Trust