THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A LIVING TRUST
A LIVING TRUST STATES WHO WILL INHERIT YOUR ESTATE
Your living trust allows you (Trustor) to identify who inherits your assets after your death (Beneficiaries) and who will be in charge of distributing those assets (Successor Trustee). The Successor Trustee acts without supervision by the Probate Court and is held to the highest fiduciary duty of care. Your Successor Trustee is responsible for following your written instructions and acting in the best interests of your named beneficiaries.
Once you sign your living trust, you will re-title your financial accounts into your name as “Trustee” This means that your assets are subject to the provisions of your living trust. We prepare and record the deeds to transfer your California real property to your living trust. You continue to retain control of your assets and may revise the trust in the future when things have changed.
A LIVING TRUST PROTECTS YOUR CHILDREN
In the event of death of both parents, children under 18 years of age are not legally qualified to care for themselves or to manage property. In planning your estate, you must choose a “Guardian” to care for your minor children. A “Children’s Trust” is created within the living trust which will allow the Successor Trustee to manage your assets for the support, health and education of your children. The Children’s Trust will include a distribution schedule for transferring the remaining trust assets to your children at whatever age you choose. Children’s Trusts may extend beyond age 18 to protect children from their financial immaturity, disability and creditors.
A LIVING TRUST MAY AVOID COURT CONSERVATORSHIP
If you become mentally or physically incapacitated due to an accident, illness or dementia, the court may appoint a Conservator to take control over your health and financial decisions. Like Probate, Conservatorship is public, expensive and time consuming. A living trust allows you to select a Successor Trustee, such as your spouse or child, to manage your affairs without the expense of a conservatorship.
A LIVING TRUST CAN PROTECT YOUR CURRENT SPOUSE AND YOUR CHILDREN FROM A PRIOR MARRIAGE
Multiple marriages often raise conflicts between the desire to provide for a surviving spouse, new children, children from a prior marriage and stepchildren. A living trust will define exactly how you would like your assets distributed in these complicated family situations. Protections can be created to prevent a surviving spouse from disinheriting your children from a prior marriage.
A WORD ABOUT LIVING TRUSTS AND ESTATE TAXES
The current Federal Estate Tax exemption is $11,200,00 million dollars per individual and $22,400,00 million dollars per couple. It is not necessary to have a living trust to reduce Federal Estate Taxes. Older living trusts often contain “AB”or “Bypass” provisions which will increase administration expenses and capital gains taxes if not eliminated. Consult your attorney regarding updating your living trust.
ADDITIONAL COMPONENTS OF A MODERN ESTATE PLAN
In addition to a Living Trust, your estate plan should include:
* A “Pour Over Will” to add non-trust assets to the Living Trust after your death.
* A “Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management” which names an Agent to access your non-trust assets while you are alive.
* An “Advance Health Care Directive” naming an Agent to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to make your own and identifying your wishes regarding 'end of life’ options.
* A “Trust Transfer Deed” to transfer your real property into your trust.
& House Calls
Estate Planning, Living Trusts,
Trust Administration & Probate
7250 Redwood Blvd., Ste. 355
Novato, Ca 94945
Tel: (415) 898-5958
Fax: (415) 892-5446