Making plans for what happens to your belongings and investments after your death is a step that some Californians do not want to contemplate. Thinking about death is not something people look forward to tackling.

Protecting your family after death is what should spur the creation of an estate plan. Understanding how to keep most of it away from the probate process may help ease stress. The Law Offices of William S. Dunlevy wants to educate you on some of the tools at your disposal when creating an estate plan that keeps your wishes at the forefront.

Trusts offer protection of property and cash

You may believe a trust only benefits those with high net worths. However, even those with modest holdings may find trust accounts beneficial in estate planning. A trust is like a savings account with a few differences. In a trust, you may deposit not only money but also property. Depositing a deed in a trust means conveying it to the trust. Depending on the type of trust, you may have to leave what you collect within it, or you may move the contents back and forth. A key benefit of trusts when estate planning is that it passes directly to named beneficiaries. Trusts do not go through probate before distribution.

Retirement accounts and insurance proceeds allow seamless passing

Retirement accounts and insurance policies also have beneficiaries. These chosen people receive the proceeds of policies and accounts upon your death. Unlike trusts, the rules governing these two tools allow only cash deposits. Property is something that cannot pass via these accounts. However, upon the filing of a death certificate, the proceeds pay directly to named beneficiaries without court interference.

Estate planning is an integral part of life. If you need more insight into this and other probate matters, follow this link.