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Having legal documentation of what is to be done with your personal property and assets after your death is not something that people often like to talk about, but is essential to your peace of mind. Taking the time to have a will or trust established will allow you to rest easy, and avoid your family and loved ones having to deal with these matters during their time of grief. Without these documents, families can often fight over assets and deal with numerous legal headaches.


  • Orange County Trusts Attorney - Understanding The Difference Between a Will and a Trust

  • A will is a document that states where your personal belongings and assets will go after your death. This includes naming your financial or liquid assets, as well as your property or secured assets, such as homes, cars, and personal effects. This document can be written in a formal manner or informally.
  • Additionally, you can choose to elect who gets each item that you own, or you can name a an Executor, who will be responsible for handling all of your financial and property affairs until all debts and taxes are paid, and then seeing that the rest is given to the proper people as named in the will. Your executor does not have to be a lawyer or legal professional, but does need to be someone who is honest, diligent, and dutiful. A will can also give you a place to the conservator for your minor children.
  • A trust is a document that provides structure for owning and managing assets, including naming an entity or entities. The people that control the trust are known as trustees. There are five different types of trusts, but a Discretionary Trust is the most common type that people seek. This trust basically states that any investments or the distribution of assets, are at the discretion of you and or your spouse, the trustee(s). Generally, this will include a statement of wishes which directs how assets are to be dealt with during and after the lifetime of the trustor. This document can be amended at any time, so that people can change their trusts and re-allocate their assets after certain events.
  • The other types of trusts are less common, but still used in many cases. You can have a protective trust if there is a life interest, a fixed interest trust, which doesn't allow for variances from the written direction, an accumulation and maintenance trust, which generally involves children reaching a certain age, or a purpose trust, which is generally established for a specific purpose, as the name insinuates. In addition to the different types of trusts, a trust can also be made during a lifetime (intervivios) or after death (testamentary).
  • If you feel overwhelmed by all of this information, don't be. This is just a brief introduction to wills and trusts for you to learn about your options. To understand these options better and find out which estate planning options are best for your specific situation, just contact me today at 562-799-1379 or email me at nemirow@aol.com.