If you have accumulated some assets in your lifetime, you would surely desire that your assets are distributed to your family and other beneficiaries according to your wishes upon your demise. Your attorney will always suggest that you create a ‘last will and testament’ to determine the fate of your property after your death. The last will and testament is made to oversee the following:
* Who you will designate as your personal representative/executor to be in charge of your estate
* What powers you confer on the executor of your estate
* Who will inherit your property
* How the transfer of properties to your beneficiaries will take place
* Who will serve as legal guardian to your minor children
Trust Attorneys and estate planners in general will often suggestion that you make a living revocable trust. The trust-based estate plan should address all the above points. The only terminology to note is that the executor of your estate will be referred to as Administrative or Successor Trustee. The trust is a way by which the deceased person can exert some control over the distribution and use of his/her assets. Sometimes the deceased forms trust to protect beneficiaries (such as his/her own children) against their own incapacity to handle money. In many states, the formation of a trust is a legal means to avoid tax as they may attract less taxation, so your trust attorney would strongly recommend you do the same.
Revocable trusts are gaining popularity in the US as these may be revoked, amended or altered during the lifetime of the settlor on the condition, the settlor is of sound mental health and is not incapacitated. The formation of a trust involves less administrative costs and is thus preferred over declaring a will, which might incur higher administrative costs during probate. However, even if you decide to make a revocable trust you would still have to have a legal ‘last will and testament’. If you fail to fund even one of your assets into your trust, the ‘last will and testament’ will be required to ‘catch’ that unfunded asset and transfer it to your fund. The ‘Pour over Will’ which is used to provide for the unfunded assets until they are transferred to the fund after the probate also assigns:
* Who will be the Executor/ Personal representative of your unfunded assets
* What powers the Personal representative/executor will have
* Who will serve as the legal guardian of your minor children until they become adults
For comprehensive and satisfactory estate planning, you must consult a Trust Attorney in Sacramento and adjoining county residents can seek legal advice from the many law firms in the area.