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Palm Desert Wills and Trusts: The Problems with a Standard Will
The consequences of the standard last will and testament are nearly the same as doing nothing in your estate plan and they are similar to the consequences of joint ownership. If you have a last will and testament and do not have a living trust, your family will still end up having to go to probate court, you may lose control of the family’s assets, and you still have the same increased expense to the family as if you had done nothing.
All wills, including pour-over wills, require some type of judicial overview by court. In fact, like California, most states will likely require some type of probate proceeding. The threshold for an expedited probate in California is only $100,000. So, if your combined estate exceeds $100,000 including mortgaged real estate assets, you are going to have a full probate. This slide shows 1 to 3 year delay. In Riverside County, however, this is more like 2 to 5 years given the impacted court system and budget problems for California courts. With a standard will, you still have the costs connected with the attorneys and executors, you have the loss of privacy as the court will have to examine the affairs of the decedent, and you have the emotional distress of going through the court system that will be present for your family.
This is the same slide we saw for doing nothing, namely the significant attorney and executor fees to probate these family assets. The same rules apply. This a powerful refresher of the expenses associated with only executing a standard last will and testament or doing nothing for estate planning, etc.
As you can see, with a standard will, you still have the same problems associated with joint ownership. As is so often the case without a comprehensive estate plan, these same disinheritance scenarios can play out, you have the loss of control, and there are the same concerns about privacy.
So doing nothing didn’t work out, joint ownership didn’t work out, and having a standard will didn’t work out. What else can be done? In our next video we will discuss the tremendous benefits of a Living Trust.