Wills and Trusts
- July 15, 2010
- Comments Off on Wills and Trusts
I feel that everyone, young or old, should have a will because a will ensures that the deceased’s property and assets will be distributed as she wants after death and not by rule of law. There is a statute in the Probate Code that dictates the manner in which property is distributed to heirs if the decedent died without a will, i.e. intestate. In general, it bequeaths the probate estate to relatives in order from closest to more distant relatives.
There are other statutes that dictate what costs and other expenses will be paid from the estate before heirs receive anything. This is true whether or not there is a will. Many times the statutory distribution will result in relatives being left out or receiving the decedent’s property when that would not have been the deceased’s wish. Each person must have his or her own will, even a husband and wife. This assures that husbands and wives can let their wishes be known even if different from that of their spouse.
A will can only control the flow of property immediately after death. It cannot, for instance, direct that person “A” shall have this asset until person “B” reaches a certain age and then person “A” must give it to person “B”. If one wishes to control the disposition of his property for a period of time following his death, then he must execute a testamentary trust or a living trust. These types of legal entities are much more complicated and have strict rules to be valid. Many times trusts are used for asset protection, but for this discussion it is enough to say that a trust will allow a person to withhold his assets from a young child until that child reaches a mature age. One should think and plan carefully after consulting with a professional before deciding whether to execute a will or a trust.