It’s an unfortunate reality that people are afforded very little privacy here in Orange County when they pass away. Under the laws of our state, and in every other state across the country, sensitive details about one’s estate and how much their loved ones stand to inherit are a matter of public record.
Just think of a recent celebrity death and you’ll have a solid idea of how easy it is for the details of one’s estate to become public knowledge. All it takes is someone looking in the newspaper or asking for documents at the courthouse to know intimate details of your family’s life that you’d probably rather keep private. This is especially concerning in today’s digital landscape, as scammers can easily get your family’s information and use the internet or social media to make contact with them for a variety of nefarious purposes.
Fortunately, there is one way to keep your financial and personal affairs completely private after your passing, and that’s by creating a Trust. A trust locks down the details of your estate because the assets of the trust are not required to go through a public probate process. As an added bonus, this also means that your assets will be distributed much quicker than if they went through the court system. This is good news for your heirs and beneficiaries who will have access to their inheritance sooner.
In addition to privacy and ease of asset distribution, wills and trusts administration lawyers may recommend trusts for another reason: control. With a trust, the person setting it up can have considerable say in how the assets are used. For example, you can create a trust that is only to be used for funding your children or grandchildren’s education. Setting parameters like this helps to ensure the money does not get squandered on other things.
Trust lawyers can also assist in creating very specific kinds of trusts that will meet your family’s privacy needs while carrying out secondary goals. For example, you may set up a charitable trust that leaves a portion of your inheritance safely and privately behind for loved ones, while a remaining portion goes to a charity or non-profit.
Because trust planning is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution, it’s important to work with a qualified attorney when creating your document. He or she can determine what aspects of planning are most important to you and work to ensure that your trust is created in such a way that protects your family while meeting your long-term goals. If you have further questions about trusts or you would like help getting started, please feel free to contact our Orange County law firm at (949) 260-1400 to set up an appointment.