Estate Planning with Mike Walters: The Difference Between Wills & Trusts

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Last week, our trusted legal advisor Mike Walters shared with our readers the importance of a Will and a Trust.  This week, he answers one of his most frequently asked questions – “what’s the difference?”

One key difference mentioned is that Wills go through probate while Trusts do not.  So what is probate? According to Walters, probate is a public court proceeding.  More specifically, it is a court proceeding in which a court decides on the validity of the will and interprets the instructions of the deceased.  An executor is selected to be a representative of the estate through this process.

The problem with probate, as Walters describes, is that the process costs a lot of money.  It can also take years to complete.  Also, probate makes your documents public and available for anyone to see.

A Trust is the preferred alternative.  A Trust keeps things private and helps protect your family.  In addition, you get to choose how you want your assets distributed, and there is no hold placed on your assets.

Trusts can also be set up as revocable, meaning you can make changes or add to it, or revoke it altogether as long as you are willing and able.  Also unlike Wills, which only go into affect after death, a Trust will manage your assets now.

For more information on Wills and Trusts or estate planning, visit Walters and Ward has over 20 locations throughout Southern California, and holds free workshops on Wills and Trusts.

These workshops do have limited space, but you can sign up online or call 1-877-779-9729 to reserve space at one of the upcoming workshops. And you do not have to be afraid to just go into an office because at Walters and Ward they will never charge to talk to a lawyer.

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