Keep Your Affairs Private
There are a variety of reasons you should consider using a trust in creating your estate plan. One of the primary reasons a trust is recommended is that it allows your loved ones to avoid the time-consuming, expensive and often public probate process. Saving time and money is always beneficial, but equally important to many families is protecting their privacy. Nobody relishes the thought of nosey outsiders being able to snoop into their financial information.
In California all wills must be deposited with the court and available to anyone who wants to see it. In fact, in some jurisdictions your will may be accessed online. For example, here is a link to the
will of Philip Seymour Hoffman
The probate of a will also requires the personal representative or executor to provide notice to creditors of the deceased. Once the creditors are aware of the probate action, they have to file a claim against the estate. If the claim is valid, it must be paid out of the estate.
In contrast, a trust is a private document. The assets held by the trust are also private. No notice of a trust must be given to creditors. Although your trustee should be instructed to pay legitimate claims of the deceased, most creditors would rather pursue a claim in a probate action than against assets held in a trust. A trust can also provide protection from creditors of your beneficiaries.
While there is no 100% guarantee of privacy, a trust offers you a significant advantage over the publicity of having your will go through the probate process.