California is one of the world’s largest economies and has many wealthy individuals with plentiful assets to protect. The Golden State also has many hard-working individuals and families who live a mostly middle-class existence throughout their careers. Whether you rank among the wealthy or the hard-working blue-collar folk who provide the economic backbone that makes it all work, the following can help you to better understand how it all works.

Wills and trusts control assets

Two commonly used estate planning tools are wills and trusts. A last will and testament is a legally binding document that tells a probate court how you want your estate settled after you pass on. You can choose which assets go to whom and ensure all debts are settled. A trust can take legal possession of financial assets and real property to protect them for final disbursement to beneficiaries after you pass on. Trusts also can provide support for yourself or others if you are incapacitated by an accident or illness and need ongoing support afterward.

Fiduciaries that ensure estate plans are abided by

Trusts and wills need fiduciaries who ensure they are abided after you pass on. An executor takes temporary control of your assets in accordance with the will and provides the document to the local probate court. Documentation of estate assets and debts as well as the legally binding documents help the court to abide the estate plan as much as possible and settle your estate’s affairs more quickly and smoothly.

An estate planning attorney can help to review your situation and help you to learn more about the relevant tools that best help you to ensure your estate is settled as you wish. You also can protect against potentially incapacitating injuries or illnesses.