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Establishment of trust funds avoids probate

Many California residents were shocked and saddened by the death of Robin Williams. While entertainers may be so involved with their career they fail to ignore estate planning, it appears Williams did not neglect taking steps to protect and direct his wealth after his death.

While many individuals tend to think of wills as the quintessential estate planning document, reports suggest that Williams chose to facilitate the execution of his estate through at least one trust. Many individuals use trusts during the estate planning process for several reasons. They allow the trust holder to not only provide for their family but also help some assets avoid the probate process. Probate is a court-based process and open to review by the public. Concerns about privacy are some of the reasons for using a trust.

In addition, probate proceedings may also be lengthy and rife with disputes. A trust fund alleviates this problem and provides the person forming the device with the ability to closely control how assets are distributed after they pass away. For example, the trust might withhold payouts to children until they reach a certain age. Furthermore, with a revocable trust, the planner may make changes as life situations, such as divorce or marriages, arise. This greatly increases flexibility over a will, which necessitates formal proceedings to make certain changes and revisions.

Consulting with an attorney over the benefits of establishing a trust fund may help individuals during the estate planning process. The attorney may help in structuring a trust that might provide the best protection for a client's wealth and family.

Source: Daily Finance, "Robin Williams' Estate Plan Spares His Heirs a Lot of Drama", Dan Caplinger, August 14, 2014

Source: Daily Finance, "Robin Williams' Estate Plan Spares His Heirs a Lot of Drama", Dan Caplinger, August 14, 2014

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