A previous post on this blog talked about the advantages of revocable living trusts. These types of trusts, and living trusts generally, can help residents of Redding, California, keep their estates out of a lengthy, costly and often stressful probate process. The probate process is also public, so living trusts can help keep a family's financial affairs confidential.
As the name implies, living trusts get created while the drafter of the trust, the settlor, is still alive. There is another type of trust called a testamentary trust. In a testamentary trust, a person uses a lengthy, relatively complicated will to direct his or her personal representative to gather the property of the estate and create a trust after the person's death.
Testamentary trusts only get created after a person dies and the person's will gets admitted in to the probate court, so they do not really help Californians avoid probate. An executor, under the auspices of the court, still has to get authority to collect the deceased's property and hold it in trust.
Like living trusts, testamentary trusts can be used to protect the property of an estate from creditors and from tax liabilities, at least in some situations. But, a distinctive advantage to a testamentary trust is that it allows a person to retain considerable control over his or her property until death and even from beyond the grave.
For one, for so long as a person is competent to change his or her will validly, he or she can always change or revoke the trust with relative ease. Moreover, the terms of the trust can spell out, to a great extent, at what time and in what manner a person will receive his or her inheritance.