Carlsbad California beaches.

What is the Difference Between a Will & a Trust?

Many clients ask: do I want a trust or a Will? or what kind of will? Some have been told they want a Living will? Some even say a Living trust..At my office, we avoid these confusing  terms. We aim to draft documents that fit our clients situation. Sometimes these documents include instructions for  care while the creator remains alive. Thereby they could bare the term living yet we commonly refer to these documents as either a durable power of attorney for health care or a trust.

My office is in Carlsbad, California where we service clients living primarily in North Coastal California and on occasion through out California.

A simple will takes effect on the creators expiration. Thereby it is called a last will and testament.

A power of attorney dedicated to health care issues could be called a living will. Yet such a document has nothing to do with assets just health care. Thereby the term living will is confusing.

A Trust Defined

A trust is a contract between the settlor (the person who creates the trust) and the trustee (the person who administers the property within the trust). The trustee agrees to hold and administer the assets in the trust in accordance with the instructions of the document.  

Sometimes the trust starts while the creator is alive. Sometimes on death and thereby the start date again causes the confusion of living or otherwise.

Most people start their trusts while alive and name themselves as trustee, so they effectively control the assets they have transferred to the  trust—– call it living if you like. Trusts that are created by the terms of a will are Testamentary trusts which are out of favor. Most people prefer the trust they start during their life to avoid probate. Sometimes this is good and sometimes bad. The success of a trust is highly dependent on the quality of the trustee.

Contact me for more information on what type of estate planning tools is best for your life and end-of-life matters.


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