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Estate Planning Attorney for Living Trusts

Updated: Nov 24

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A California Living Trust is a legal document that replaces the Last Will and Testament as most people know it. In other words, a living trust ensures that the assets are distributed to the people you specify. In practice, a Trustor (the person who maintains the Trust) signs a document called a Declaration of Trust, usually appointing himself or herself as Trustee of that Trust.


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The Trustor, therefore, transfers his or her properties to the Trust at the same time. The act of transferring assets into a trust is referred to as funding the Trust. A California revocable living trust will help an estate escape probate when adequately funded. A living trust often prevents the second probate for your spouse or wife when he or she dies, as well as probates in other states where you own land.


Living trusts (when correctly drafted) help people secure asset security for their loved ones while maintaining a seamless transfer of assets from you to the next generation and avoiding a California probate. Furthermore, transfers to your children can be structured so that they receive health care, schooling, welfare, and maintenance after you pass away without having the potential to misuse family properties.


Most people, for example, fear the prospect of their children squandering inherited funds in Vegas, on a new Ferrari, or in some other wasteful way. In reality, many parents choose to set up a California living trust that gives their children the majority of the family estate until they reach a certain age, such as 30.


What Is Probate and How Does It Work?


Probate is the mechanism by which the court:

  • In California, you can transfer or inherit the land.

  • Determining the legitimacy of a will

  • Resolving the deceased's unpaid debts

Your property consists of your house, bank accounts, automobiles, and everything else of monetary value. The Supreme Court of California is where this procedure takes place. This court oversees the settlement of your debts and the subsequent transfer of your land.


If you become incapacitated, a probate court will become interested in your finances. If you can no longer handle your finances, the probate court will appoint someone (a "conservator") to manage your house, and you will be responsible for both the maintenance costs and the court fees to choose this person.


Why Would You Want to Avoid Probate Court?


Any California living trust solicitor will tell you that avoiding probate will benefit your family if you have significant assets at the time of your death. The probate process in court will take anywhere from 9 months to 3 years. This is far longer than the time it would take to divide assets if you used another estate planning method.


Furthermore, probate is costly, with probate fees running into the thousands of dollars. If you use estate planning software, these costs can be greatly reduced. Even after paying the court fees, going to probate court costs money because estate taxes are levied on properties transferred in probate, which can be as high as 30% to 50% of the property's value. Estate taxes are only levied on properties exceeding a certain amount with the correct estate planning tools.


As a public venue, probate court filings are public documents, and the family's privacy will be violated. You can, however, keep details about your assets and their transition private if you use estate planning software.


While many people assume that their properties will not be subject to probate if they have a will, this is a common misconception. And if you have a will, your assets will most likely go into probate, according to a California living trust solicitor. If you become incapacitated, your properties can end up in probate court even before you die.


How Can Probate Be Avoided?


The easiest way to escape probate in California is to set up a living trust with a California living trust solicitor's help. A living trust moves the assets into the Trust until you die, eliminating the lengthy and costly probate process. Furthermore, if you become incapacitated and have a living will that names a trustee to handle your estate, you will stop going to probate court and having the court appoint others to manage your assets. Instead, as part of the Living Trust, you nominate someone to serve as a successor trustee.


What Is a Living Trust and How Does It Work?


A living trust is a legal agreement that transfers your assets to a trust during your lifetime and appoints a trustee to control the Trust's assets for the rest of your life. Most people appoint themselves as trustees for the rest of their lives. You can also nominate someone else if you are too busy or concerned that you lack the management skills or financial expertise to properly handle the properties.


If you appoint yourself as a trustee, it's also a good idea to name someone else as a trustee if you become unable to do so or pass away. This person may be a family member or friend, or a specialist who specializes in trust administration. Regardless of who you want to administer the Trust, you must be assured that they are trustworthy and truthful to minimize the likelihood that the funds will be mishandled.


A living trust distributes the properties to the individuals or organizations you specify after you die. "Beneficiaries" refers to these individuals or organizations. The Trustee you appointed will be in charge of paying your debts and taxes. He or she would also transfer the Trust's assets to the intended recipients.


A California Estate Planning Lawyer would be familiar with the process of establishing this estate planning method and is the only source of reliable and up-to-date legal advice on how to do so.


What are the Benefits of a Living Trust?


When you want to have the following things, you'll need a living trust:


Avoiding probate. Unlike a will, a living trust does not go through probate because the beneficiaries can see how the estate assets are allocated.


Keep all of the assets confidential. Unlike a will, a trust is normally kept private, and the assets are distributed privately.


A Living Trust saves you money. A trust usually costs more upfront than a will, but a living trust will save money in probate costs and could even prevent beneficiaries from contesting the Trust. With the help of a knowledgeable Living Trust solicitor, you will ensure that your Living Trust is protected from tax-related issues and various other documentary defects.


Financial Security for Minor Beneficiaries. A trust may retain funds for minor children. For example, the funds may be distributed at various times depending on the recipient's age.


Avoid Conservatorship. Having a living trust will be immensely beneficial if the Trustor cannot manage their financial affairs at any point in the future. Family members who do not have the legal power conferred by the living trust contract must normally go to court to obtain it. The family would need to obtain legal permission to handle the Trustor's accounts, which will be a lengthy and public process.


Guardianship. If one or both parents pass away, the Trust will include a set of guidelines to the Trustor specifying who will care for the minor children.


You can still control your assets. You will keep ownership of your properties with a living trust until you pass away. As long as you are professional, you can alter or terminate a living trust at any time.


Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.


Basics of Living Trust


Only an Estate Planning Lawyer has the expertise to ensure that this complex and critical legal procedure is completed correctly. With the help of an Estate Planning Lawyer, you must properly draft the living Trust. Furthermore, the properties must be properly transferred into the Living Trust. Even if you enlist the aid of other financial practitioners to set up your estate or lower your taxes, an Estate Planning Lawyer is required to properly prepare this legal document.


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Is it appropriate to employ an Estate Planning Lawyer to set up a living trust?


Since the two documents have different purposes, you will almost certainly need a will even though you have a living faith. When you die, a will specifies how property in your name (not part of the Trust) will be distributed. A will also specify who should be the guardian of any minor children under 18. It is important to remember, though, that a will also go through probate, as discussed above, so it is preferable to use a living trust instead. An Estate Planning Lawyer may also advise you about what other estate planning resources you can need to safeguard your properties.


The Differences Between a Will and a Trust


A California living trust solicitor may create a trust document. This agreement specifies the assets that are included in the Trust, who will inherit those assets, and names you as a trustee. The assets listed in the Living Trust will then be transferred to the Trustee by you or your solicitor. Even if you appointed yourself as a Trustee, you must pass the trust property to yourself as a Trustee.


Preparing and recording deeds to real estate, modifying the Beneficiary on life insurance or the 401k, and converting bank accounts and stocks are all examples of property transfers.


Revocable and Irrevocable Trust


In a Revocable Trust, the Trustor has the right to change the terms any time. The Trustor can remove beneficiaries, appoint new ones, and direct the management of the Trust's properties. You've always heard of a revocable trust, also known as a living or family living Trust. An irrevocable trust cannot be altered or terminated without the approval of the Trustor's designated Beneficiary.


What is a Revocable Living Trust, and how does it work?


The Trustor may cancel or change the terms of a revocable trust. The Trustor will earn income distributed over the life of the living Trust. The property passes to the heirs when the owner dies. As a result, a revocable living trust is a component of estate planning that aids the Trustor in asset protection and management. When the Trustor passes away, the revocable Trust becomes irrevocable.


Unless one or more of the Trustor's designated beneficiaries wishes otherwise, an irrevocable trust is permanent. When a grantor creates an irrevocable trust, he or she ultimately transfers the ownership of assets to the Trust and relinquishes power over them.


The grantor of a revocable trust maintains ownership over the trust assets and has the ability to change the Trust during their lifetime.


Properties in revocable trusts are not protected from creditors.