Setting Up a Living Trust or Will

August 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Santa Clarita, California-based CaMu Financial & Insurance Services, Inc., offers clients comprehensive retirement planning and wealth management services. Our expertise extends to living trusts and wills, which allow individuals to provide for their family and loved ones as well as exert control over their property after they pass away. At CaMu Financial, we work closely with clients in determining strategies that will assure timely distribution of wealth in accordance with their wishes.

Wills and living trusts are very distinct from one other, and careful consideration is needed in developing the optimal inheritance and estate-planning strategy. A will is a signed and witnessed written document that sets out how property will be distributed at the time of death. Wills can also specify a legal guardian in case of children who are minors. Wholly revocable, wills are amendable at any time and for any reason.

As a flexible and sophisticated property management instrument, the living trust is a necessity for families with substantial assets. It establishes management of property both during the individual’s lifetime and after his or her death. Those who draw up a living will are allowed to serve as their own trustee. The living trust instrument continues after the trustee’s death through a named successor, often a spouse, son, or daughter. In cases of disability through accident or illness, the successor may manage the trust as well.

Benefits of living trusts include keeping financial affairs private, avoiding probate on assets, and establishing a contingency plan in case of incapacitation. Living trusts also effectively double estate tax exemptions, an important consideration for families with significant assets. Despite these evident advantages, there are significant limitations to living trusts as well. The living trust requires active management and is more expensive to set up and maintain than a will.

Every living trust must be funded, as the assets under its control are limited to those specifically placed there. A well-crafted living trust requires the participation of an experienced and knowledgeable financial advising firm. Wills and living trusts are by no means mutually exclusive. Living trusts can be tied in with wills and power-of-attorney documents. This helps overcome the inherent limitations of living trusts, such as inability to name guardians for children.

Contact CaMu Financial & Insurance Services’ financial advisors at www.camu.biz to receive complimentary consultation on wills and living trusts.

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