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Plan For Today To Manage Tomorrow’s Uncertainties With A Living Trust

A revocable, or living, trust can add a solid foundation to your estate plan. The decision to include one in yours can leave you with many questions that can be challenging to address on your own, as your needs and concerns are unique to you.

At The Law Offices of Diane Anderson, I can help you evaluate if a revocable trust could benefit you. I can also help you understand how these trusts operate and give you personalized examples of how these trusts can help you plan for the future in alignment with your goals.

What Is A Revocable Trust?

A revocable trust can let you place designated assets in the hands of a trustee. What makes a revocable trust different is that you can modify or even terminate the trust at any time until you pass. With a revocable trust, you can be both the grantor, the person who owns the trust, and the beneficiary, the person who receives assets from the trust. Similar to a will, a revocable trust can allow you to pass on trust assets to other beneficiaries after you die.

What Should You Include In A Revocable Trust?

You should include your house in a revocable trust. You don’t necessarily need to put your cars in a revocable trust because we tend to change cars often. In a trust package in the estate funding package, you get a trust pour-over will because it’s for financial power of attorney. Then you get your health care directive. The pour-over will pour anything you left out and makes those assets or property part of the trust; it can be anything less than $160,000. If you buy a beautiful quarter-million-dollar motor home, title it to a trust. You want assets that are high-dollar value to be titled to the trust as if the trust owns it now. You’re the trust toward creating your trust. You’re the trustee managing all of your assets during your life, and you’re the beneficiary of everything during your life.

Many people think that if they sell something to the trust, they don’t have it anymore, and that’s completely wrong because if you’re the beneficiary, the trustee and the trust, you own it. It is just a different way of titling it.

What Assets Should You Exclude From A Living Trust?

It’s not about the type of assets that should not include in a revocable trust. It’s just that you can keep them out, and because it’s beneficiary driven, you can give those funds to other people so that they’re not named in the trust. Some people want to keep it simple, and sometimes they want that money to get earmarked. Several clients have earmarked different funds to different people, so if you keep it under the trust, the trustee can manage it less.

What Are The Advantages Of Having A Revocable Trust?

Here are a few of the benefits it can provide:

  • You can control and change it while you’re alive: Perhaps the most significant benefit of a revocable trust is that you can modify it anytime you want. Life can change quickly, and if reflecting those changes requires adjustments, a revocable trust can let you make them quickly and easily.
  • It can provide more clarity over your estate: Typical estate planning tools like wills can be useful. However, if someone contests your will in probate court, that can create additional stressors and complications for your loved ones. With a revocable trust, you can add or remove any beneficiaries you please, offering a clearer sense of who your assets will go to. While people can still challenge trusts in probate court, it can be much more difficult to do so.
  • It can protect your privacy: Revocable trusts can help keep your personal information a secret. As people can contest a will in probate, the contents of your will and the rest of your estate can become public information via court records.
  • It can offer a quick transfer of power: If you die or become disabled, a revocable trust can transfer authority to your designated trustee – who typically has a fiduciary obligation to act in your best interests. For example, the revocable trust allows the trustee to make important decisions for you and oversee trust assets you wish to give to beneficiaries without obtaining power of attorney.

If you want to know more about what a revocable trust can do for you, call my office today at 209-717-6150. I am more than happy to address any questions or hesitations you may have.

How To Set Up A Living Trust

There are several important steps to crafting a living trust. While your lawyer will handle much of the legal legwork, you still have some hand in the creation. You will need to:

  • Take stock of your assets
  • Choose a trustee
  • Choose beneficiaries

At that point, the attorney will craft your trust document, which you must sign in front of a notary public. The final step is assigning your assets to the trust.

Tips For Choosing A Trustee For Your Living Trust

The trustee has a great deal of responsibility and is in charge of administering the trust’s payments and bills. Obviously, you should choose someone who you trust immensely. It may also make sense to choose a party with few personal ties to you or your family to avoid conflicts of interest.

They’ll need to understand the difficulties and realities of managing assets, as well as deeply care about the responsibility involved.

How To Amend Your Revocable Trust

In amending your trust, there are two avenues. The first is the trust amendment rules that you may have set forth when crafting the trust in the first place. If that is outlined in the trust document, then you may simply follow those guidelines. However, if instructions were not kept, then your only option is to rely on the California statute.

The statute requires you to craft a document almost identically to the original document. We can assist you in this process.

Is A Living Trust Right For You?

A living trust is a tool like any other. Whether it is right for you or not is not for us to decide. It is for you to decide with the input of our dedicated legal team. We’ve mentioned many of the advantages and disadvantages of trust in the abstract. Once we’ve closely reviewed your situation, we can provide an even more comprehensive opinion.

Are There Any Disadvantages Of Having A Revocable Trust?

There aren’t any disadvantages to having a revocable trust.

How To Administer A Revocable Trust After You Die

Administering a revocable trust after someone has passed away is very similar to doing an administration in a probate, where you gather and list all the assets. You get to know who the beneficiaries are in a trust. You have to send out a copy of the trust to every one of the beneficiaries because it’s always transparent. You’re not supposed to hide the ball; you should always let people know. You can then get them to sign a waiver and a notice of acknowledgment indicating they received a copy. It is processing all the wishes, and then you distribute it all. Now, if the trust is something where it lives on for some reason, that’s a benefit of a trust; you don’t have to terminate it right away. The majority of trusts will terminate on the passing of the last spouse.

Therefore, the person will take the list of all the assets and send it to the beneficiaries. They will see the trust, gather all the assets and distribute them. So, a specific gift will go out of the estate first. For instance, when someone is drafting their trust and wants to give $100,000 to someone else, I usually advise people only to do a percentage because you don’t know how much you will die with, and specific gifts will go out of your estate first. You might want to be nice to your friends, but you might give your friend more than your heirs will get because when you pass away, you won’t usually have as much money as you thought when you wrote the will.

Seek Empathetic And Practical California Estate Planning Guidance Today

You don’t have to make decisions about your future alone. A revocable trust can offer a solid foundation for your estate plan, and I can help you determine whether one fits in yours. Set up a reduced-fee consultation with me today by calling my office at 209-717-6150 or through my online contact form.