Will vs Trust: What’s the Difference?

Understanding Your Options for Estate Planning

You have likely heard the terms will and trust, but do you know the difference? These important estate planning tools can help you protect your assets and ensure that they end up in the right hands. While often challenging to talk about, preparing for the future is essential and can help establish financial security for your family.

At Team 805 Real Estate, we are certified probate experts. Our experienced real estate agents can help you through the entire process, ensuring that the sale goes smoothly and meets all of California’s legal requirements. If you have a property subject to probate, contact our office at (805) 341-0398 to discuss your options.

What Is a Will?

Most people are familiar with a will. It is a legal document that goes into effect once a person dies. If someone dies without a will it is referred to as “intestate,” as opposed to when they die with a will, “testate.”

In general, a will must be:

  • Completed by a person of sound mind;
  • in writing;
  • signed; and
  • witnessed by two people to be valid.

California does allow for a holographic will which does not have to be witnessed but does have to be signed and have the material provisions in the person who made the will’s handwriting.

Distributing the Assets

The primary purpose of a will is to distribute the assets of the decedent. A will must go through the formal process of probate. A probate court determines whether a will is valid and helps with the distribution of the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries. Without a will, the decisions on how to distribute assets are at the discretion of the court in accordance with state law.

What Is a Trust?

A trust, unlike a will, goes into effect immediately upon creation. It can establish how you want your assets distributed even before death. Assets named on the trust avoid probate. In many cases, descendants will have both a will and trust. A will can also establish a trust referred to as a testamentary trust which is generally irrevocable.

The Importance of Estate Planning

In order to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, it is essential to establish an estate plan. Preparing ahead of time can avoid many headaches down the road and ensure that your loved ones are taken care of financially in the tragic event of your death.

Properties Subject to Probate

Probate is an important but often complex process. If you do have a property that is subject to probate, it is critical that you have the assistance of a certified probate expert. At Team 805, we will work directly with you and your probate attorney to ensure that all of the strict legal requirements are met.

Contact Our Office Today

If you have any questions regarding a probate sale, contact Team 805 Real Estate at (805) 341-0398 for expert guidance on probate property sales.
Let us help you move forward after the painful loss of your loved one. Contact our office to find out the value of your property and our innovative solutions for getting it sold quickly for top dollar!