To establish a living trust in California, you will need the advice and services of an Orange County trust attorney. Living trusts are a popular alternative to wills. What exactly are living trusts and how do they work? What are the benefits and advantages of establishing a living trust?

If you’ll continue to read this short discussion of living trusts, you will learn the answers to these questions. A living trust is a legal tool for transferring assets and properties to loved ones. After your death, a living trust allows your loved ones to avoid the inconvenience and cost of probate.

A living trust takes more time and effort to establish and requires more maintenance than a will. Whether to set up a will or a living trust – or both – depends on your personal, family, and financial situation. You will need personalized advice from a Newport Beach trust lawyer.

What Are Living Trusts?

A living trust or a last will and testament is typically the central document in a comprehensive estate plan. If your own estate is modest, a will may be adequate for your needs, but you should still know about the benefits and advantages that a living trust can provide.

A living trust ensures that upon your death, your assets and properties go to the right people. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but an estate plan that includes a living trust can ensure that the people you love will have financial security when you are no longer here.

A living trust lets you determine how your assets and properties will be handled both during your lifetime and after your death. Do you need to set up a living trust? An Orange County trust attorney will offer you the insights and advice that can help you make that important decision.

Why Should You Avoid Probate?

Perhaps the leading benefit of establishing a living trust is this: It allows your beneficiaries to skip the probate process, the time-consuming and expensive legal procedure that requires an estate to pay for court costs, attorneys’ fees, executor’s fees, appraiser’s fees, and more.

Probate reduces what your loved ones inherit, but putting your assets in a living trust protects those assets from the probate process. The larger your estate, the more your loved ones may lose through probate. If your estate is complicated or extensive, consider setting up a living trust.

How Does a Living Trust Work?

Throughout your life, you may be the trustee of your own living trust. You can move real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cars – almost anything you possess – into your living trust. Items in the trust legally belong to the trust – not to you – even though you control and manage the trust.

You’ll name a successor trustee to manage the trust’s properties and assets for your beneficiaries after your death. A living trust is flexible, and it may be changed whenever you choose. You can move assets and properties in and out of the trust or even dissolve the trust should you choose to.

If you become incapacitated and cannot manage your financial affairs, a living trust eliminates any need for a conservatorship. Instead of a court appointing a conservator to oversee your affairs, someone you’ve named as a trustee in your living trust acts in that capacity.

Certain assets can’t be transferred to your trust, but your trust can be designated as the beneficiary of those assets. Your trust may be the beneficiary of your 401(k), IRA, or life insurance, and those assets are moved into the trust immediately upon your death.

What Else Do Living Trusts Offer?

Another benefit of a living trust is the privacy it provides. Probate is a public, judicial process in California, and the details of a probate proceeding go on the public record. By allowing your estate to avoid probate, a living trust keeps your financial and business affairs confidential.

Parents may also use a living trust to help them leave an inheritance for minor children. In most cases, an inheritance left to a child through a will goes directly to the child when that child reaches adulthood.

However, a living trust lets you tie conditions to a child’s inheritance. You may require the child to complete college or turn age 25 before receiving the inheritance, or you can set any reasonable requirement.

Is a Living Trust Right for You?

While there are no rules or regulations about who needs a living trust, you should discuss estate planning in general and living trusts in particular with a Newport Beach trust lawyer. If you have a family or if you own your own business, a living trust could be right for you.

In Orange County or elsewhere in Southern California, to set up a living trust or a comprehensive estate plan – or if you want to learn more before you make any estate planning decision – you should consult an estate planning attorney promptly.

What Makes an Attorney’s Help So Imperative?

Do not even consider setting up a living trust or establishing an estate plan on your own. You already know that tax and probate laws can be immensely confusing and complicated. Any mistakes that you make in the creation of your estate planning documents could cost you dearly.

Family disputes and legal difficulties can also emerge if you do not have the helpful insights and guidance that a California estate planning attorney can offer.

Proper estate planning takes a thoroughgoing familiarity with trusts, wills, probate laws, and tax laws. At your first consultation with your estate planning lawyer, have all of your questions answered and all of your concerns addressed.

When Should You Consult an Estate Planning Lawyer?

Details can make a big difference when you plan your estate. Tell your attorney anything and everything that you think may be important to the estate planning process. Whether or not your estate plan includes a living trust, you should begin planning your estate as soon as possible.

Your attorney will personalize your trust – or your comprehensive estate plan – so that it’s compliant with California law and provides the maximum legal protection to your estate and your loved ones.

Let an Orange County estate planning attorney help you prepare a living trust, protect your assets, and/or set up a comprehensive estate plan that protects your estate and secures the future for your loved ones.