Unlike Living Trusts, all Wills must be filed in California. Wills not only identify beneficiaries, but also the assets and property in the estate. It becomes a matter of public record with property and asset values for anyone to see.

Scams on the elderly have hit a record $1.7 million in the first quarter of 2016. Callers often pose as cash-strapped grandchildren or tax collectors to target the elderly. There is an abundance of information in Will records to convince the elder person in falling for the scam.

The IRS and tax bureaus do not telephone tax claims to the individual. By law they must send written notices.

Do not fall for the cash-strapped grandchildren trick. Call the parents to verify where the grandchild is located and if they are on a trip. These calls are usually initiated during the Spring break months.

Avoid making your estate and beneficiaries a public record and utilize a Living Trust to distribute your estate. It is a private contract under California law and is not filed with any agency as part of an estate administration. It may have to be filed with the Assessor’s office for the limited purpose of identifying property protected by the Parent-Child exclusion. This filing is only for the Assessor’s office purposes.

Should you be interested in initiating or updating a Living Trust to 2016 standards, please contact our office for that purpose.