A living trust can be a useful tool for estate planning. This type of trust is one that you create while you are alive. You can choose one or more beneficiaries to the trust, and they will receive the trust property when you die. Before you can decide if a living trust is right for you and your estate plans, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.
The California estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver, Inc. have many years of experience handling all aspects of estate planning. Our attorneys can help you determine whether or not a living trust may be a good option to include in your estate plans, and if so, they can help you create one. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to meet with one of our attorneys to begin the estate planning process.
What Are the Benefits of a Living Trust?
There are a few different benefits of including a living trust in your estate plans. One of the major benefits is that with a living trust, you can spare your loved ones the time and money of having the assets go through probate.
Another benefit is that you can keep your assets and financial information more private through the use of a trust. If your estate passes through probate, the proceedings are public, which means your private financial information may be put on display. With all of that information out there for anyone to see, it is possible for family members and other loved ones to get upset about what they do or do not receive from your estate. A trust may be able to help your loved ones avoid some of these arguments and disputes.
How to Make a Living Trust in California
Before you begin the process of creating your living trust, the first thing you must decide is whether you will be making a shared trust or an individual one. A shared trust makes sense for many married couples who own property together.
Decide What Property to Include
Next, you will need to determine what property or assets you would like to include in the trust. You may want to include your home or other real estate property, as well as other valuable items such as artwork, valuable collections of items, and jewelry. You may also wish to include other valuable things, such as patents, copyrights, and small business interests.
Choose a Successor Trustee
You can be the trustee of your living trust, meaning that you will have the responsibility of managing the assets within the trust and making any associated investment decisions. However, you will also need to designate a successor trustee to take over the trustee duties after your death. Before you begin the process of creating your living trust, it will be helpful to decide who you would like to designate as your successor trustee.
Choose Your Beneficiaries
When creating your living trust, you will also need to decide who you would like to leave your assets to upon your death. You can choose to leave everything to one individual, multiple individuals, or even to a charitable organization. The term beneficiary refers to the person or organization that will receive the trust property upon your passing.
Prepare the Trust Document
The next step is to prepare the trust documents. It is usually best to have an experienced estate planning attorney handle this part of creating the trust. Your attorney will know what documents to use and what to include in them to make sure the trust is considered valid.
Sign the Trust
Once the trust documents have been prepared and completed, the next step will be for you to review the documents and sign them. You will need to sign the documents in front of a notary who will then notarize the documents, which will confirm that you personally signed them.
Transfer the Property to the Trust
Finally, you will need to transfer the title of the property that you have included in the trust into your living trust. You will need to make sure that any property that is to be in the trust is now in the name of the trust; and, therefore, legally owned by the trust. This process is referred to as “funding the trust.” The included property must be legally owned by the trust.
If you wish to create a living trust, speak with an experienced California estate planning attorney to get started. Contact Galanti and Copenhaver, Inc. today at 707-867-0787 or fill out our online contact form to begin creating your living trust.