In a nutshell, a will is a document that identifies “who gets what and when” and also names the person responsible for carrying out your wishes. A will sets out:
To ensure that your will is followed and to legally transfer ownership of your assets to your beneficiaries—the recipients of your gifts—requires court supervision or probate. If you die without a will, probate is required to transfer property to your legal heirs as defined by statute (California Probate Code).
Similarly, a trust also identifies “who gets what and when” and names the person responsible for carrying out your instructions. However, identifying a guardian for your minor children is typically done by will. A trust does not require court supervision; thus, probate is not needed.
Managing trust assets is known as trust administration—the “who gets what and when” according to your estate plan.
“Legalese” is rampant in the area of estate planning; words and expressions confuse rather clear up matters. Following is a basic primer for trust terminology:
What happens when you are unable to serve as trustee due to illness or death? You name an individual as “successor trustee” to take over the responsibility to manage the trust property according to your directions stated in the trust. You also name the ultimate trust beneficiaries.
I assist trustees carry out their administrative responsibilities which include: