An estate planning attorney has different tools to help clients with their estates. A will is a document that specifies where you want your property/assets to go when you pass away. Probate is the legal process that a will must go through to verify that the will is valid before the assets can be distributed. Another tool an estate planning attorney can use is a living trust.
Trusts are legal entities that allows a person who owns assets to give those assets to someone else, yet still maintain control over those assets. The person who sets up the trust is a grantor and the person who receives those assets is the beneficiary. The grantor will appoint a trustee who will distribute the contents of the trust to the beneficiary upon the grantor’s death (or per the instructions the grantor establishes).
A living trust is drafted by an estate planning attorney. Legal documents will be drawn up which transfers the ownership of the property or assets to the trust. The type of property that can be placed in a living trust includes money, stocks, bonds, real estate, and vehicles.
The benefits of a living trust are many:
- The grantor of the trust still controls the property and can still benefit from the property or assets.
- A living trust does not go through probate, which means there is no delay in the beneficiary receiving the trust contents (probate typically takes one year). Probate also involves costs, including court and attorney fees. A living trust bypasses those fees, as well.
- A living trust protects everyone’s privacy. When a will is placed into probate, it becomes public record so anyone can access and see the details of the estate. A living trust is not public information, so it all remains confidential.
- Depending on the size of the estate, a living trust can mean lower estate taxes will need to be paid.
- A living trust means that the grantor still maintains complete control over their own assets, even as they grow older or should they become incapacitated. A living trust can have stipulations as to how the trust income should be used for a grantor’s care.
- A living trust offers a great deal of flexibility for the grantor since they are able to change or revoke it at any time.
- Unlike a will, which can be challenged during the probate process, a living trust is much harder to challenge legally.
Contact a Trust Attorney Today
If you would like to learn more about the different trusts available and how trusts can be used in your estate plans, contact a trust attorney in Sacramento, CA today to set up an initial consultation.
Thanks to the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and if a living trust is right for you.