Writing a will is a common way to set out your wishes for after you're gone, but it's not always the best fit for every situation or kind of property. To keep your family from going through the probate process or to have more say over certain assets, setting up a trust might be a smart move. It could be used instead of or along with a will. Trusts are flexible and can meet a lot of needs, but setting them up can be complex without a knowledgeable attorney. For a trust that works the way you need it to, it's wise to work with a San Diego trust attorney from Lancier Legal, PC.
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Trusts can be set up in different ways. They vary by when they start and how much control the person who creates them, known as the settlor, has over the trust's assets. Trusts made while the settlor is alive are called living trusts, and ones that aren't set up until after the settlor dies are called testamentary trusts. The latter is often included in a person's will.
A living trust can be revocable or irrevocable. If it's revocable, the person who made it can change it as long as they're alive. They can tweak the rules, pick a new person to manage it, or change who gets what from the trust.
An irrevocable trust is different because once it's set up, the settlor can't make changes anymore. The assets in the trust are then out of the settlor's hands.
Both kinds of trusts have their pros and cons. Assets in an irrevocable trust don't count when it comes to estate taxes, but a revocable trust gives the settlor more flexibility. However, it doesn't protect the assets from creditors.
A lawyer from Lancier Legal, PC in San Diego can help figure out which trust is right for you.
In California, to set up a valid trust, you need to have something of value to put into it, someone to receive the benefits (a beneficiary), and someone to look after it (a trustee). You also need to be mentally capable of deciding to create a trust and clearly show that you want to do it. The purpose of the trust must be legal, and it must be set up in a way that's fair to the people who will benefit from it. The trust must be detailed enough for a court to understand and enforce what you want to happen. These rules are outlined in the California Probate Code, Division 9 (Cal. Prob. Code §§ 15200-15211) .
If you're in San Diego and need to make a trust that holds up legally, an estate planning attorney from Lancier Legal, PC can help.
Trust-based estate planning can be beneficial in a variety of ways.
If your kids will inherit a lot, it might be better for them to get it in pieces over time. Trusts can plan this out based on important life events or certain ages.
No family wants the hassle of 1 to 2 years probate when they're grieving. A trust-based estate plan can remove that burden by skipping the probate process.
Probate makes your asset details public after you die. A trust is a private contract, so it's not something you have to show in court later.
Trusts can be used to work around tax laws, avoiding estate or income tax issues. Irrevocable trusts can help if your estate is big enough to be taxed by the federal government.
Trusts can do more for you and your property than wills sometimes, but they're also more complicated to put together. It's crucial to have legal advice if you're thinking about making a trust. The team at Lancier Legal, PC can make setting up a trust easier, looking out for your interests and those of the people you choose to benefit from it.
Call us today to talk about what you want for your estate and begin planning.