A Sacramento Living Trusts Lawyer You Can Trust

Living trust document with pen and glasse - THE LAW OFFICES OF DIANE ANDERSONManaging your legacy can be hard work. A trust can help you control the assets you’ve worked so hard for and allow you to distribute those assets to the right beneficiaries at the appropriate time.

I’ve been helping Californians with both simple and complex trusts since I began my practice at The Law Offices of Diane Anderson, and I can help create and manage one that reflects your values and hopes for the future.

What Is A Trust?

A trust lets another person or institution, known as a trustee, oversee your assets. Trusts differ from wills because you can have much more control over a trust. Sometimes, a trust can allow you to maintain that control after you die. There are various types of trusts people can create, with the most common being:

  • Revocable trusts: A revocable trust is a trust you can easily change while you are still alive. Also, if you die or become incapacitated now or as an elderly person, your trustee can take over without power of attorney.
  • Irrevocable trusts: A trust you have little control over. While it can be more difficult to make changes, irrevocable trusts can protect your assets and reduce your federal and estate tax liability.

While revocable and irrevocable trusts are the most common, there are other types of trusts that can address your specific needs. Call (209) 729-7477, and I can go over which options could be beneficial to you and the legal process of creating a trust.

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. Like a will, a revocable trust can allow you to pass on trust assets to other beneficiaries after you die.

What Is The Purpose Of A Trust?

Trusts can serve many purposes and offer multiple benefits. While no trust is exactly the same, most can help you avoid probate, direct your assets to the appropriate beneficiaries and save your beneficiaries a lot of money.

What Do You Need To Create A Trust In California?

Before you create a trust, here’s what you’ll need to take stock of:

  • What assets you have: Bank accounts, vehicles, jewelry, family heirlooms and any property you own, etc.
  • Who you want your trustee to be: You want someone who is honest, organized, responsible, and unbiased to oversee and distribute your assets.
  • Who you want as your beneficiaries: Maybe one of your kids will run the family business, or you may have another child with special needs who can’t provide for themselves. Or, perhaps a sibling or spouse cared for you when you were sick. Considering these factors can help you determine who you want your beneficiaries to be.
  • How much is going to your beneficiaries: Not only do you need to think about what assets will go to your beneficiaries, you will need to think about when those assets will be available. If beneficiaries are receiving money from the trust, you’ll want to determine how much they’ll get, when they’ll get it and for how long they’ll get it.

Sorting through all these details can be challenging – that’s why I’m here to help.

What Types Of Documents Can Help When Establishing A Trust?

Most people will need to gather these documents:

  • Real estate deeds to your home and other property you own
  • Business ownership documents, if you own or co-own a business
  • Financial statements for your retirement accounts and bank accounts
  • Stock certificates
  • Life insurance policies

Having the documentation proving you own what you intend to place into trust will help you populate the trust as you intend.

How Do Trusts Work?

Here is a breakdown of how to create and manage a trust:

  • The grantor hires an attorney and discusses the specific assets they would like to include in their trust, as well as the type of trust they’d like to set up.
  • Once the assets and type of trust are established, the attorney takes this information and writes it up in a formal document.
  • The grantor selects a trustee to oversee their trust and administer assets to their beneficiaries.
  • When it’s time to distribute assets, the trustee usually explains the terms and conditions of the trust to its beneficiaries.

Common Myths About Trusts

Many misconceptions about trusts keep people from obtaining one when they need one. Some of these myths and the truths behind them include:

  • Only wealthy people need them – in reality, anyone can benefit from a trust through proper estate planning.
  • Trusts only benefit the heirs – your trust, like a revocable living trust, can help you control when your beneficiaries receive their inheritance, even while you are living. This way, you can enjoy seeing your loved ones receive your gifts for them.
  • Trusts will always avoid probate – most trusts are able to avoid the probate process, but ones that are poorly created may still call for the probate process. I can help you develop a trust that meets your needs.

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 make 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 be included 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) 729-7477. As an experienced living trusts attorney, 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 before 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 during trust administration.

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

There are two avenues to amending your trust. 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. I 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 me to decide. It is for you to decide with the input of my dedicated legal team. In the abstract, I’ve mentioned many of the advantages and disadvantages of trust. Once I’ve closely reviewed your situation, I 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.

Do You Need A Will And A Trust?

Yes. Dying without a will properly drafted, signed and executed under California law is called dying intestate. When that happens, state intestacy laws determine who inherits the estate, not the deceased’s final wishes. Even if you have a trust set up, a will is a necessary part of all estate plans to prove that the trustor created the trust and intended it to determine how some or all of their estate gets transferred.

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 processes all the wishes, and then you distribute them 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.

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 independently, as your needs and concerns are unique.

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.

The Benefits Of Hiring An Attorney To Assist With Your Trust

As your legal representation, I have a lot to offer you while making your living trust or other type of trust. I can help you put your wishes to paper and make them legally secure. If you are updating your trust, I can help you account for anything you may not have considered in the planning process. As your estate attorney, I can also help you appoint a trustworthy person as your trustee, so you can rest easy that someone you can count on is responsible for the obligations of your trust.

Get Help Setting Up Your Trust Today

Accounting for everything you’ll need to create a trust can feel daunting. However, when you have a dedicated and compassionate attorney like me on your side, you can make informed decisions about your and your beneficiaries’ futures with peace of mind. Set up a reduced-fee consultation today by calling (209) 729-7477. You can also reach out through my online contact form – I look forward to speaking with you.


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