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What are the benefits of creating a living trust?

California estate planners have a lot of options for organizing their finances and distributing their wealth after they're gone. One of those options might include the creation of a living trust instead of a will.

It's important to understand the potential benefits of a living trust before deciding if creating one for your estate is right for you.

A living trust can help your heirs avoid probate

Living trusts will assist your heirs in avoiding the probate process. When you only have a will, your estate will need to be probated before the assets are distributed to your beneficiaries. The probate process can be costly and time-consuming. It's also public, so all the details of your assets will be part of the public record, which can create privacy concerns.

With a living trust, however, probate is usually unnecessary. The trustee of the living trust can immediately distribute assets to beneficiaries as soon the owner of the trust dies. This can save time, money and headache for heirs.

A living trust could be cheaper in the long run

Your living trust might cost a little more money to set up. However, because it avoids the probate process, it could be less expensive in the long run. When an estate involves a lot of money, assets and potential heirs, probate costs can really add up. On the other hand, because probate is avoided with a living trust it may represent considerable cost savings.

There may be other benefits to the creation of a living trust depending on your situation. It's always best to learn as much as you can about your various estate planning options before finalizing your estate plan.

Source: FindLaw, "Living Trust vs. Will," accessed Jan. 25, 2018

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