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Wills, Trusts and No Wills


  With No Will With a Will With a Revocable Trust
At Incapacity* (unable to handle your financial affairs Court control: Court appointee must keep detailed records, report to court, and usually post bond (even if appointee is your spouse). Court oversees financial affairs, approves expenses. Court Control: Same as with No Will No Court Control: Your successor Trustee manages your financial affairs according to your instructions for as long as necessary.
Court Costs & Legal Fees Impossible to estimate. Court and attourney usually involved until you crecover or die. Same as No Will No Court Costs. Minimal legal fees if attourney assistance is desired.
At Death Probate: Court orders you debts paid and assets distributed in accord with state law. Probate: Debts paid and assets distributed according to your Will (if valid and no contests are successful) No Probate: Debts paid and assets distributed by Successor Trustee according to your Trust's instructions.
Court Costs & Leagal Fees Your estate pays all court costs, legal and executor fees (often estimated at 4%-8% or more of an estate's value). Same as with No Will. Costs can increase if Will is contested. Usually none if no estate taxes. (Attorney can be helpful for larger estates).
Time Usually 9 months to 2 years before heirs can inherit. Same as with no Will. Can be weeks(larger estates may take longer for estate tax filing).
Flexibility and Control None: Court procedures, not your family, have control at incapacity and death. When you die, assets distributed according to state law (probably no what you would have wanted). Limited: Same as with No Will, except assets are sistributed when ou dies per your Will (if valid and no contests are successful). Wills can be changed until incapacity. Maximum: You can change /discontinue Trust until incapacity. Assets stay under control of your Trust, even at incapacity and after you death. More difficult than a Will to contest.
Privacy None: Court proceedings are public record. Family can be exposed to disgruntled heirs, and unscrupulous solicitors. None: Same as with No Will Maximum: Revocable Trusts are not public record. Your family can take care of your financial affairs privately.
Minor Child Court control: Court controls inheritance, appoints Guardian. All decisions and financial transactions requeire court approval. Child receives full inheritance at legal age. Same as with No Will. Minimal Court Control: Trustee you select manages inheritance and provides funds for expenses until child reaches ag(s) you specify. Court approves Guardian, but has no control over inheritance.
Court Costs & Legal Fees Impossible to estimate. Court and attorney usually involved until child reaches legal age. All costs paid from child's inheritance. Same as with no Will. Costs may be less with Children's Trust or Will. Minimal.
* A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Advance Directive can prevent court interference in medical decisions.

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Law Offices of William L. Meek  |  445 Hemsted Dr. Suite B  |  Redding, CA 96002  |  530-222-1111  |  wlm@meeklegal.com