In California, you have choices when it comes to estate planning. Most people are familiar with wills and have heard of the Probate process. A trust is interesting and effective legal document that isn’t so much an alternative to a will, but a much better option than a will for most people and families in a variety of ways. And, unlike a will, the Probate Court is not needed to oversee the process of trust administration.
At the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen, our Santa Clarita revocable living trust attorney works with you to establish an estate plan that meets your needs and fulfills your wishes.
A trust is a legal document in which the Trustee owns property on behalf of the beneficiary, and the Trust can, and should, have a lot of flexibility. A ‘living’ trust is a trust that does not have fixed, static provisions. And being ‘revocable’ emphasizes that the terms of the trust are able to be changed at any time by the person creating the trust.
Revocable living trusts are a popular estate planning tool in California for multiple reasons, such as:
When someone dies who has only a will, the will must be submitted to a court to initiate the probate process. The court oversees the process of gathering all the property to be administered by the terms of the will, making sure everything is properly valued, and then sees that creditors are paid before passing inheritance to those family, friends and charities whom the deceased would like to inherit. Currently, Probate generally takes at least a year to a year and a half due to time periods built into the process; many probates last for more than two years, even relatively straightforward estates.
Disposition of property under the terms of a trust can go much faster. The trustee is authorized to handle administration and distribution of property without court involvement. Because the trust already owns all of the property it will distribute, tracking down property or ownership issues should be more efficient.
Probate is an expensive way to settle an estate. Issues regarding the property may arise that take time and money to resolve before anything gets distributed. And the California probate code allows attorneys to be paid based on a percentage of the appraised value of an estate without regard to encumbrances on the property. For instance, an attorney would be paid $23,000 for an estate valued at $1,000,000. For a $5,000,000 estate, an attorney would receive $63,000. The same amounts are paid to the executor handling the probate estate.
When you set up a revocable living trust you are the grantor. You select a trustee to manage the property in the trust. You are typically the trustee until your death upon which time the successor trustee you have named will take over and carry out the provisions of the trust as you have directed.
As the trustee during your life, you have complete control over everything in the trust. You decide what property the trust will own and who will receive it upon your death. You can also change the provisions of the trust or terminate the trust at any time.
While it’s not legally necessary to hire a living trusts attorney to set up a basic revocable living trust, there are many requirements that must be followed in order to make the trust legal. And a lot of factors to think about and know how to structure, what to bring in, what to leave out, and the pros and cons of all of them. It’s a good idea to have an experienced attorney make create the trust in order to make sure it is properly designed, drafted and funded with the property you want in it and that the trust language will achieve the results you desire.
The Santa Clarita revocable living trust lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen will help you decide whether a revocable living trust is the right estate planning tool for you. Our legal team will consult with you and go over what you have and what you want to accomplish. We then make a recommendation based on what we believe will best meet your needs. Click here to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your estate or call our office at 661-481-0100.