Revocable Living Trusts
A living trust, or revocable trust, is an agreement that provides for the management and distribution of your assets during and after your lifetime. It is a particularly important element of estate planning and many people can benefit from the security a trust provides provides. While trusts can be revocable or irrevocable the living trust usually refers to a revocable trust. Revocable refer to the fact that the trust can be changed, or revoked, during your lifetime. This type of trust provides several important benefits:
You determine how your assets will be managed by giving written instructions in the trust.
At the time of your death probate can be avoided, saving expenses and fees, because the trust contains instructions for the distribution of your assets while avoiding the cost and time of going to court.
The trust usually names someone to assume responsibility for the management of your assets if you become disabled, thus eliminating the need to arrange for the appointment of a guardian or conservator. Appointing a guardian or conservator is a lengthy and costly court process which is best avoided when possible.
Analyzing your Assets and Who should Manage them
Deciding whether to create a living trust requires analysis of the extent of your assets, the types of assets you own, and your personal preferences concerning their management. Many people prefer to keep personal, unfettered control over their assets for life - while others may be willing to have their resources managed for them.
A California Trust for California Residents
Trusts are governed by state law and should be written to meet your specific needs and preferences. Like wills and other legal documents, trusts should be prepared by an experienced Trust and Estate attorney who is licensed in your home state. Any document like a trust must be reviewed regularly to reflect changes in the law or in your family or financial circumstances.
Choosing a Trustee(s)
Most people will be trustees of their own living trusts, but a successor will have to be named for continuation after their death or in the event of disability. Choosing a trustee requires careful thought and your attorney make recommendations as to the best choice. Some individuals and families may choose to nominate a professional fiduciary to manage their assets when they pass. This has the added benefit of allowing a neutral third party to professionally manage and distribute your assets, but does have an added cost.
As a Trust and Estate attorney who has worked in the San Francisco East Bay for over a decade, Matthew and his team are able to provide guidance on how best to set up your revocable living trust. Please call 925-322-1795 for your free 30 minute consultation with our downtown Walnut Creek Estate Planning firm.