Wills & Trusts in Orange County

For most individuals, the idea of estate planning involves drafting a will so that your assets and property are distributed to the right people after you pass away. However, what many people do not realize, is that probate is still a necessary process when there is only a will. At Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC, our ultimate goal is to help you and your loved ones avoid probate whenever possible. The first step in that process is to understand the difference between wills and living trusts.

What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document that explains in detail what an individual wants to happen after they die. This includes their final wishes regarding their remains, as well as how they want their money, assets, and property to be distributed. Although wills are often beneficial for those who have money and property valuing less than $150,000, they still require the probate process be completed. After the individual passes away, the document will have to be verified as the true will before a probate judge, and the property will then have to be distributed through estate litigation and trust litigation. This process could be avoided entirely by drafting a living trust instead.

What Is a Living Trust?

Much like a will, a living trust also documents how you want your affairs handled after you pass away. The major difference is that living trusts do not require probate. Additionally, there are various types of trusts that can be created, depending upon each trustor's unique situation and needs. Trusts are placed in the control of a person or other entity, such as a company, known as "trustee." A trustee is in charge of handling the property according to the wishes of the trustor, and has certain duties to uphold as required by statutory law. A trustor is also able to identify beneficiaries to benefit from the trust at specific times or in specific happenings. Unlike a will, living trusts can take effect during the trustor's lifetime, as well as extend for years after their death. A trust allows a trustor to ensure their estate is distributed according to their wishes by a designated trustee, rather than by an impersonal probate judge.

Hire an Orange County Estate Planning Attorney

Contact the offices of Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC at your earliest convenience to speak with an Orange County estate planning attorney and find out what we can do for you. Our professional corporation is dedicated to helping clients avoid probate and draft detailed wills and living trusts so that their estate is in order prior to their passing. No matter your age or health, our attorneys encourage you to take advantage of our skill and knowledge.

Take the first step in estate planning today by choosing to contact a lawyer from Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC.

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