Asset Protection: When a Will Won’t Do

7:32 pm California Trusts, Wills

no 150x150 Asset Protection:  When a Will Won’t DoEstate planning can be a complicated process for most people, and one of the most common misconceptions is that if you have a will, that takes care of everything.  However, you need to consider some of the things a will cannot do before you think your estate plan is rock-solid:

Provide a speedy resolution – wills must go through the probate process, which can take anywhere from 9 months to two years – even longer if you own property in another state.  During that time, your assets will be frozen in place and inaccessible to your heirs.

Protect your privacy – a will is a public document and guess who loves that?  Identity thieves!  Anyone can access a will, which usually contains a lot of personal and financial information about a decedent.

Useful in times of incapacity – a will goes into effect only at death, so it cannot protect you in case you become incapacitated.  If the Will is the only estate planning tool and incapacity is an issue, a Guardianship and Conservatorship will generally happen. This is yet another court proceeding that can be avoided if proper Power of Attorney documents are set in place.

No asset protection – a will does not provide your heirs with protection against creditors, divorce or Medicare spend-down.

In comparison, a trust is not subject to probate, is completely private, becomes effective at incapacity and at death, and provides important asset protection for heirs.

To ensure you and your family are fully protected, contact our Newport Beach law firm to discuss which estate planning tools are best suited for you and your loved ones.

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