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Wills and trusts important in estate planning in California

Clarity is what one should aim for when planning an estate. Lack of clarity in estate planning can result in future legal problems for intended beneficiaries. This can require significant amounts of time and resources being spent in a prolonged probate court proceeding in California. Therefore, it is essential that people have their wills and trusts in place as soon as possible.

A probate process will include examining one's testamentary will. This is a legal instrument used in transferring assets in one's estate. It is also utilized to appoint guardians for one's minor children, as well as select an executor of a person's will. A will can also set up trusts for the benefit of surviving heirs.

On the other hand, trusts can also play a vital role in planning for estate administration. A trust is a legal entity which maintains ownership of property and assets. A person or entity will be named the trustee and will be in charge of controlling the distribution of assets held in the trust. The trustee will administer assets according to the terms detailed in the mandates of the trust document, which should be customized to the trustor's wishes.

However, before creating wills and trusts, people will need to understand the laws regulating these documents in California. This knowledge will ensure a person's will and trust are legally enforceable. Also, there are a variety of other estate planning documents, such as a power-of-attorney, that one should consider as part of a complete estate plan.

Source: investopedia.com, "Will vs. Trust -- The Difference Between The Two", Matthew Jarrell, May 13, 2015

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