This is an article from the Law Offices of Roy W. Litherland (https://www.attorneyoffice.com/) in Campbell, California, that we thought others may find helpful.
You have choices when planning your estate. You are not required to utilize a last will to direct the distribution of your assets after your death. Instruments such as revocable living trusts are viable options and they are not exclusively for the wealthy.
Your estate must be probated when you use a last will as your primary asset transfer vehicle. Probate comes with considerable costs. Depending on the overall value of your estate and its relative complexity, the costs associated with probate can erode 10% of the value of your estate in court and attorney fees.
In addition to the expenses, probate can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. If your estate must go through probate, your heirs will not receive anything until the probate process has been completed and depending on the jurisdiction, this could take months or even years!
If you opt for a revocable living trust, upon your death, your assets can be transferred to your loved ones quickly, without having to go through the time-consuming probate process. Additionally, a living trust allows you to include instructions regarding how you want your estate managed in the event you become incapacitated.
You are not locked into any one course of action when you are planning your future. Remember, you have options, so don’t be afraid to explore those options and research the various estate planning tools that are available.