You need a Trust if:

  • You have over $150,000 in assets and want to avoid the time and expense of probate – for a $400,000 estate probate costs are $11,000.
  • You do not want your heirs to wait more than 6 months to settle your estate.
  • You want your estate information kept private.
  • You want to address incapacity issues.
  • You want to ensure that your wishes will be carried out.
  • You do not want one or more of your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance outright at your death.
  • You have a blended family.
  • You own real estate.
  • You are a married couple and one or both of you are not a U.S. citizen.
  • You have a beneficiary on Medi-Cal or Supplemental Security Income.
  • You are married and would benefit from two estate tax exemptions.

You should review your existing trust if:

  • You have had any life changes – such as marriage, divorce, reconciliation, death, or grandchildren.
  • You have seen that your successor trustee cannot handle their own finances – let alone yours.

You need a will if:

  • You have minor children and need to address guardianship issues.
  • You want specific assets given to specific people.


In addition, everyone over eighteen needs an Advance Health Care Directive, HIPPAA Release, and Financial Power of Attorney.