Many California residents want to make sure that their loved ones will fare well after they are gone. As a result, they often make provisions in efforts to ensure that their families will not feel at a complete loss as to how to handle certain affairs. In particular, wills and trusts can help with these preparations.

These planning tools can help provide instruction from decedents to their surviving families. Both wills and trusts have their own benefits, and rather than choosing one or the other, individuals could benefit from utilizing both if they wish. A will can indicate who a person wants to act as his or her executor, which is a complicated and sensitive role to take on. The will can also help with asset distribution when that time comes.

A trust could also help with asset distribution, but it may streamline that process. Many assets not kept in a trust will need to first go through the probate process, which means that it could take months or even years before beneficiaries and heirs receive their inheritances. Trusts, however, allow for direct distribution of assets because probate is not necessary for trust administration.

Some California residents may have the mistaken notion that it is either/or when it comes to wills and trusts, but it does not have to be. Parties who want to create comprehensive estate plans may find that both of these and many other planning tools will help them express their wishes. In order to better understand the many options available, interested parties may want to consult with knowledgeable estate planning attorneys.