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Living wills, last wills, and living trusts

Wading through all the terminology that is utilized in estate planning circles can be somewhat confusing to the uninitiated. With this in mind we would like to take a look at living wills, last wills, and living trusts.

Everyone knows what a last will is used for. This is the most widely executed estate planning document, and of course it facilitates the transfer of your financial assets to your loved ones after you pass away.

The next two documents we will examine are sometimes confused with one another. Some people are aware of the fact that there is a way to set aside assets for distribution to your loved ones while you are still alive. They assume that this document must be a living will, but in fact they are probably thinking about living trusts.

You can manage the assets placed in a living trust while you're still alive, but you name a beneficiary or beneficiaries who would benefit from the trust after your death or upon your incapacitation should you choose to include an incapacity contingency.

Living wills have nothing to do with the transfer of monetary resources. With a living will you state your preferences with regard to medical procedures that you would allow or disallow in the event of your incapacitation.

This a brief look at three commonly utilized estate planning tools. The best way to gain a comprehensive understanding of all of the instruments that are available to you would be to sit down and discuss your unique situation with a good Redlands CA estate planning attorney.

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