According to the website Caring.com, the pandemic has played a large role in people’s understanding of the importance of estate planning, especially among younger persons (between 18 and 34 years of age). In 2020, 16.4% of people in that age group said that they had one or more estate planning documents in place. In 2021, the number has already risen to 26.8%.
Unfortunately, percentages for other age groups have remained both static and low. Even with the pandemic, only 32.9% of all Americans have even a will in place. In other words, two-thirds of Americans have yet to plan for the future.
You can never be too young or too old to secure the future for you and your loved ones through proper estate planning, but you can be too late if incapacitation or other unseen events make planning impossible — or suddenly irrelevant.
If you’re in or around Redlands, California, or nearby in Palm Springs, Rancho Cucamonga, or Riverside, the team of estate planning attorneys at The Elder & Disability Law Firm, APC, stands ready to help you plan for the future. Reach out today for a consultation to get started.
Wills vs. Trusts
A last will and testament, generally referred to as a will, is the basic building block of estate planning, but you shouldn’t stop there. A will — or worse, if you die without a will — requires all your assets and property to go through probate court to be distributed to your heirs. The process can take a minimum of seven months in San Bernardino County, and that’s only if no hitches or challenges arise.
On the other hand, a living trust — also known as a revocable trust — can accomplish the same distribution of assets as a will but without probate proceedings. Additionally, while wills become public documents, trusts do not.
In a will, you name a personal representative who becomes the executor of your stated desires in probate court after you pass away. In a trust, you name a trustee who will do the same for you but without the supervision and legal hassles of probate court. The trustee you name will take over management of your assets only if you become incapacitated or pass away. Until that time, you own and manage your assets and property yourself.