Much better than a WILL
The primary purpose of a standard living trust is to spare your heirs the expense and delay of a probate court proceeding. In most states, a probate court proceeding can take from nine months to a year, depending on the size of the estate. However, with a family living trust, your assets can pass to your heirs without delay, usually within a month or two.
When you establish a California living trust, you retain control of the assets in the Trust – you can continue to treat the assets as your own and even cancel your Trust if you wish. Nothing changes with respect to the assets in the Trust but the names on the title.
Additional benefits of a Living Trust include:
It prevents court control of assets in case of incapacity
It provides maximum privacy
It can reduce or eliminate estate taxes
It can be cancelled or changed at any time
It can protect dependents with special needs
It brings all of your assets together under one plan for a more orderly disposition
A living trust also allows you to do disability planning in order to avoid having to set up a guardianship in the future. This alone is a big benefit to setting up a living trust and transferring all of your assets into the living trust.
It should be noted that California has a simplified probate process for smaller estates – those less than $100,000 – so if your estate falls into this category, a living trust may be unnecessary to avoid probate.