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Monrovia, CA 91016

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Wills and Trusts Information Sheet

It is never too early to begin the process of planning your estate. There are many decisions to consider when determining your legacy. Wills and Trusts Attorneys at Holland, Donnelly & Mishler have been helping clients create legally sound estate plans for nearly three decades.

We offer caring and experienced advice while helping to protect your assets, minimize tax liability and preserve wealth for your heirs. Call our office at (626) 357-3223 and arrange an estate planning consultation today.

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Begin the Estate Planning Process

There are several different types of wills and trusts that are part of the estate planning process. While they both determine the manner in which your assets are to be distributed, each serves a dedicated purpose. Knowing the differences between wills and trusts can help you make informed decisions while you create an estate plan customized to the unique needs of your family and your posthumous wishes.

A will lays out your plan for the distribution of your assets after your death. In the will, you can name an executor to handle the job of allocating your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out. A will also identifies a guardian to care for your minor children. A trust also plans for the distribution of assets, but only those that have first been included in the trust.

There are several differences between wills and trusts. A will takes effect only after you die, while a trust is active the moment it is created. In California, an estate covered by a will is required to complete the probate process. Probate is lengthy and costly. Probate records are also public record and can be viewed by anyone. In contrast, a trust is a private document that allows asset distribution through a trustee.

Your custom estate plan may include a will or a trust or both, depending upon your financial situation and your plans for the future.

Writing a Will in California

There are several types of wills recognized by the state of California, including the Holographic Will, Formal Will, Statutory Will, and the Pour-Over Will. The Holographic Will is handwritten by the testator who must clearly state their intentions. This Last Will & Testament must be created without duress.

A Formal Will, also known as an Attested Will, must be dated and signed in the presence of witnesses. This will includes a clause indicating the soundness of mind of the testator. A Statutory Will is pre-printed to ensure it is in compliance regarding California’s probate laws. This must also be signed in front of witnesses who can attest that the testator is sound and not under duress.

A Pour-Over Will is commonly used in combination with a trust. This will can transfer property into a trust and is valid only with an established trust or one created at the same time as the will. An experienced wills and trust lawyer can help you determine whether you would benefit from a will, a trust, or a combination of the two.

Probating a Will

California law requires most estates to go through Probate Court. This accomplishes several legal tasks, including determining the will’s validity. This process can be expensive and time consuming. The assistance of a skilled probate attorney may streamline this process. Probating a will involves the court ensuring the testator understood, without duress, that they were creating a will. The testator must have held the appropriate mental capacity and was not influenced to create the will.

The court will recognize the named executor and confirm this person is able to carry out the fiduciary duties of the will. If a will is invalidated during the probate process, the court will inquire about any prior will by the decedent. If the decedent had failed to create a valid will, the court can direct the assets to be distributed via California’s intestacy laws.

Trusts Can Protect Assets

Several different types of trusts are available from estate planning professionals at Holland, Donnelly & Mishler. Each trust is designed to offer a specific level of protection for certain assets. We can help you determine which is best for your situation.

Most estates can benefit from one or more of the following:Wills and Trusts Attorney Holland, Donnelly and Mishler

A trust may be the best manner in which to preserve and protect your legacy. Our Wills and Trusts Attorney can help you understand the tax implication for you and your beneficiaries.

Duties of a Trustee

After a person dies, it is the responsibility of the trustee to oversee and complete the specific actions required by the trust. The trustee must distribute assets to beneficiaries and make all necessary arrangements to protect the assets. Because the trustee is legally bound to responsibly complete the fiduciary duties of the trust, the trustee may be found liable if misconduct occurs.

Experienced Wills and Trusts Lawyers

Although it is legal to create a will on your own, it may not be the most efficient way of preserving your wealth for future generations. At Holland, Donnelly & Mishler, we have decades of experience helping individuals with estate planning services. We can offer legal advice and insight to better position you and your family in the event of your death.

Contact our Wills and Trusts Attorney at (626) 357-3223 and arrange an estate planning consultation today. From offices in Monrovia, we serve clients throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California.

814 West Foothill Blvd.

Monrovia, CA 91016

Phone (626) 357-3223

Fax (626) 301-0788




The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. You should not act or fail to act based on the information on this website. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorneys at Holland, Donnelly & Mishler are licensed to practice law in the State of California.

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