A will, a trust and a probate are all aspects of the legal process before and after someone passes away. Someone may decide to execute a Will, in order to make sure that their personal belongings are distributed to their heirs the way that they would have wished them to be distributed. This saves the family a ton on headache when deciding what to do with a loved one's personal belongings. It is, however, necessary for a family to STILL go through the legal proceedings of a Probate, in order to validate the Will. Although your loved one executed a Will, you will need to have a court validate that Will in order to proceed in putting your loved one's belongings in your name, like a house or a car. The process of a Probate case can be daunting when you are not versed in Probate law. There are filing fees, paperwork, hearing dates, inventory and appraisals and process services associated with the process. Of course, no one wants to be caught in the middle of a Probate case, if you are not prepared, it is exactly what you may find yourself in.
But we'd hate to paint the picture of such a doom and gloom scenario. Although Probate matters can be a headache, if handled by the right person, office or firm; the process is seamless. There IS light at the end of a Probate tunnel. For those that wish to be well prepared for such an event; a Trust is what they should look into. A Trust acts like its own entity, or like a “robot”. The operators of the “robot” are called the “trustees” and can only act according to the robot’s directions. The Trust itself acts as the robot’s directions. Confusing? Let us give you an example.
Fred and Mary have two kids, Jake and Janice. Fred and Mary also own two houses, one in Las Vegas and one in Palm Springs, along with a Toyota Corolla. Now that Fred and Mary are in their retirement age and wish to do some traveling, they want to get their financial affairs in order, to make sure that it is done before they spend the rest of their lives catching up on all the fun they missed. They decide to execute a Trust. In this Trust, Fred and Mary decide that they want to give Jake the house in Las Vegas and Janice the house in Palm Springs and the Toyota Corolla. Fred and Mary have also decided that Janice will be the “Trustee” of their trust, which means that Janice will be the one in charge of making sure she gets her share and her brother gets his share. Janice cannot change the trust, as she was not the creator, she is only the Trustee.
Because Fred and Mary executed a Trust, their kids DO NOT have to deal with a Probate. They simply deed their parent’s house into the name of the trust, and when their parents pass away, they deed the properties into their own names. While Fred and Mary are still alive, the owner of the 2 houses and the car is the Trust, not Fred and Mary. This saves Jake and Janice the headache of enduring a Probate proceeding, while at the same time mourning the loss of their parents.
For a more detailed explanation or for clarification feel free to call our office at (909) 383-1549; or to make an appointment on our website. The initial consultation is free of charge.