First of all, let me start by saying that I respect Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey, however, is not a lawyer, and he is certainly not a San Diego estate planning attorney. Why is this relevant? Well, Dave Ramsey quite often suggests that a Will is something that every person needs. Moreover, he has said in his book that he thinks Trusts are unnecessary due to their cost of creation. I agree with Dave Ramsey in that everybody needs some kind of estate plan whether that is a Will based plan, or Trust based plan. A Will alone (or even in conjunction with the Living Will and Power of Attorney that Dave sells on his website) is not the one-size-fits-all solution that Dave Ramsey seems to suggest. This is generally so because of the cost of Probate in California, and specifically so because of the cost of homes here in San Diego.
Creating a Will based plan can cost almost as much as a Revocable Trust in certain situations, but it is generally a little more affordable. A proper estate plan contains more than just a Will or just a Trust. So much of the cost of creating a plan is the same in either option. Also, if it takes 10 pages to dispose of items to those you choose, it will take 10 pages in a Will and 10 pages in a Trust, so the drafting time is very similar. The real cost difference is in the cost of Probating a Will. There is a link to one of my Blog posts above for you that details the cost of Probate in California. The cost of a home here in California just means that the cost of Probate can go higher.
No, I wouldn’t go so far as to say a Will based estate plan is always wrong. For those with few assets, a Will may be preferred because they can take advantage of California’s simplified Probate procedure. There are certain requirements for taking advantage of California’s Simplified Probate Process that you can read here. But as I have stated before, a Revocable Trust centered estate plan is usually preferred to a Will because of the powers that a Living Trust provides such as:
Please feel free to give me a call today and we can review your situation and other Estate Planning goals. Everyone’s situation is different, and I can help create solutions.
See lots of estate planning information on my website at: www.myestate-plan.com
Thank-you for reading.
William Daniel Powell (Dan)
This document is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice. Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship. If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information.
Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.