Setting up a Living Trust
- Your living trust lawyer will help you create a legally binding document, which specifies that you are the trustee.
- You will establish a successor trustee, who takes over management in the event of your death.
- You must name your successor trustee in documentation of your California living trust.
- If you also establish a backup will, your successor trustee can also be your residuary beneficiary. Make sure your successor trustee is someone you trust deeply, since the government is not responsible for managing your living trust and allocating your assets after you die.
- You must list beneficiaries who will receive assets, denoting what they will receive, within your California living trust.
- You must transfer ownership of assets into the name of your California living trust. Keep in mind that you cannot list the same property in both a will and a living trust.
Working with a San Diego living trust lawyer throughout the process will ensure that your trust is legally sound, and will prevent complications when beneficiaries attempt to collect inheritance.
You are advised to create, with the help of your San Diego living trust lawyer, guidelines for the management, amendment, and dissolution of your trust at the same time that you establish it.
If you pass away, your successor trustee can transfer ownership of assets listed in your California living trust to your chosen beneficiaries, in a simple process that circumvents probate court. Your San Diego living trust lawyer can help you establish a trust, and can ensure that your successor trustee completes his or her responsibilities after your death.
Who Should Choose a Living Trust
Consider several factors when deciding whether you should plan your estate using a California living trust. A living trust may be especially desirable for elderly individuals or those in poor health. You also may want to establish a living trust if you have substantial assets that would be significantly depleted by the probate process.
If you have few assets, probate fees will be minimal, and avoiding the probate process may not be worth the hassle of setting up a California living trust. Also, if you are currently undergoing a divorce, your ability to control a living trust may be limited. You can discuss these potential complications with your San Diego living trust lawyer when planning your estate.
If you have moderate assets and are in good health, there is less of a hurry to set up a California living trust, although it may be something you should consider eventually. However, a will that leaves your estate in the care of a residuary beneficiary may act as sufficient temporary security. Since probate only occurs after you pass away, you do not need to plan to avoid it immediately if you expect to be alive for many more decades. Managing your assets with a will before you are old or in poor health can help you avoid the hassle of making changes to a California living trust, which can be a bigger hassle than amending a will.
Also, keep in mind that setting up a California living trust is not the only way to avoid probate.
Talk to your San Diego living trust lawyer about whether or not this type of trust is right for the unique circumstances of your estate.