Wills require a court supervised process called probate for distributing assets after you have passed away. Wills are generally good where assets are minimal or if family dynamics will likely require court supervision. The primary reason people avoid wills is to avoid the costs, time and energy required for probate. To determine if a will may be preferable to a trust, it is best to have a thorough discussion of your particular circumstances and preferences with an estate planning attorney.
1. Typically cheaper and easier than a trust on the front end.
2. May be able to use a Small Estate process for combined assets that are under the statutory limits of small estates.
3. Assets do not need to be retitled.
4. The process of asset distribution is court supervised, which may be preferable if family dynamic is contentious.
1. Requires probate for assets over the statutory limits.
2. Probate costs $5,000.00 +/-. California has a statutory that is based on a percentage of the estate value.
3. Requires court action.
4. May be more easily contested than a trust.
5. Proceedings are part of the public record.
6. May take six months to a year to complete.
7. Only becomes effective upon death, with no benefit if incapacitated.
8. Must also have a Power of Attorney, to allow another to control assets if you cannot due to incapacity.