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What is better, a will or a trust?

Ask the LDA

A trust will streamline the process of transferring an estate after you die while avoiding a lengthy and potentially costly period of probate (in California if you have assets like a house, and it is worth more than $166,000, there will be a probate in most circumstances). However, if you have minor children, creating a will that names a guardian is critical to protecting both the minors and any inheritance. Deciding between a will or a trust is a personal choice, and some experts recommend having both. A will is typically less expensive and easier to set up than a trust.

Do you need both a trust and a will?

Nearly everyone should have a will, but not everyone most likely needs a living or irrevocable trust. If you have property and assets to place in a trust and have minor children, having both estate-planning vehicles might make sense.

Does a will override a living trust?

A will and a living trust are two separate legal documents. One doesn't usually trump another, but if the issue arises, a living trust will most likely override a will because a trust is its own entity.

How much does it cost to set up a trust?

The cost to set up a trust depends on various factors, including the type of trust. I charge a flat fee to set up a family trust. An estate planning attorney will provide legal advice and specific direction and in turn will be more expensive. I am not an attorney and can only prepare documents at your specific direction.

It is important to settle your affairs earlier rather than later in life. A will or a trust, or both, can ensure your assets and possessions end up where you want them to go. If you have minor children, you should absolutely make a will to name guardianship. A trust will streamline your estate's transfer, unlike a will, which goes through probate. Making an estate plan a priority now can save money and precious time later, and help your loved ones avoid potential financial hardship.

Diana Wade is a Legal Document Assistant. She can be reached at (661) 821-0494 or [email protected]. Diana is not an attorney; she can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Kern County LDA #185, ex 4/11/23.