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Family Law


Estate Planning

Trusts vs. Wills

Estate Planning Options in Ventura  and Santa Barbara

Although a Will instructs how your estate should be distributed upon your death, a Trust is an important tool that can ensure the process of distributing your assets is efficient. Trusts can save legal costs, avoid court proceedings, and even prevent excess taxation.


How Wills are Limited in Estate Planning

A Will expresses the deceased person's wishes to both the court and the executor that is named in the Will. However, the Courts still rule over the actual transfer of the assets. This is typically done in Probate Court and can take significant time and money. Another disadvantage of a Will is that a married couple with substantial assets may have to pay federal estate taxes when assets transfer to family members. Related to the care of children, Wills simply name a legal guardian for your minor children - a Will does not set up a financial care framework to the extent that a Trust can.


Only a Lawyer Can Give You Legal Advice about Wills and Trusts

At the Law Offices of Michelle Evans, we provide experienced counsel and assistance for clients who want to create a secure Estate Plan for their loved ones. We can design legally protected strategies that will give you peace of mind today that your wishes will be respected in the future, and save time, money, and grief. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Santa Barbara or Ventura office – email our office or call 805-242-6270.  


What is a Living Trust?

Like a Will, a Living Trust is an estate planning document enabling you to give your money and/or property to your loved ones after you pass away. However, a Living Trust can frequently operate free of court supervision, unlike a Will, this is because a Trust is a legal document that holds title or ownership to your real property and assets. When you create a Trust you transfer ownership of your assets to the Trust, but you do not relinquish any control. You can still buy, sell, borrow or transfer assets into or out of the Trust. Living Trusts can be set us as revocable, which means they can be changed or revoked at any time. Typically, the Trust becomes irrevocable or unchangeable after your death. This allows you control over the trust while you are alive, but secures your plans after your death.


How Living Trusts Help Avoid Probate Court in California?

Probate is a Court proceeding used to clear the titles of estates (the ownership of assets).  However, for Probate purposes, any assets placed in the Living Trust are not considered subject to Probate. Additionally, if the assets not placed in the trust fall below monetary limits, Probate can be completely avoided for the estate. This saves considerable time, money, and court proceedings (the Probate process typically takes between 4-8 months).


Questions about Wills vs. Trusts for Estate Planning? Schedule an Attorney  Consultation

Spend the time today to plan for a better tomorrow by learning more about the benefits of  a Living Trusts and how to best protect your assets.  Call at 805-242-6270 to speak with the Law Offices of Michelle Evans. A no-obligation consultation can be scheduled at our Santa Barbara office or our Ventura office.