LIVING TRUST ATTORNEYS
Living trust attorneys are a key component of creating a comprehensive estate plan. While a will can determine how you wish to have your estate distributed upon your passing, a living trust simplifies this process and can help your family avoid expensive and complex probate proceedings. At Werner Law Firm, our dedicated living trust attorneys know the ins and outs of this complex area of law and life, and can help you create a legally sound plan that covers all the bases to your future.
MANAGING YOUR ASSETS EFFECTIVELY
Living trusts are generally preferred when you own real property, or if you have a large estate. If you simply have a will, your real property will still need to be transferred out of your name on death. Naming a beneficiary in a will advises the court who you want to have receive the real property, but you will still have to go through probate or a probate procedure in order to effect that transfer of ownership. Almost anyone who owns real property should have a living trust.
When you create a living trust, you transfer any real property you want the trust to control into the trust. While you are alive, you control and manage the living trust. This means that you have the ability to change the trust to suit your wishes at any time, and you retain control over the assets controlled by the trust as long as the trust exists.
While a living trust can help parties to avoid probate and its statutory rigors and attorney fees, there is still work to be done in administering a trust after the deceased settlor's death.
When the creator of a living trust passes away, the decedent’s property held in trust passes to the trustor’s established beneficiaries. Sometimes, disputes can arise between these beneficiaries or other interested parties.
When an adult in California can no longer care for themselves or handle their own financial or medical decisions on their own due to disability or mental incapacity the court may appoint a conservator to care for them.
At Werner Law Firm, our living trust attorneys can help you to navigate the waters toward creating a living trust to protect your assets. After creating a living trust, you can:
- Amend the trust or modify terms.
- Sell or refinance real property owned by the trust.
- Revoke the trust.
To sell property owned by a trust, you can simply sign documents as trustee of the trust. As long as you are the trustee, you will maintain control over any and all property owned by the trust – and can determine who will succeed you as trustee. In this way, a trust allows you to retain control of your property and effectively distribute your assets to your inheritors.
NAMING YOUR SUCCESSOR TRUSTEES
When creating a trust, you name a successor trustee. That individual will take control of the trust and trust property when you pass away, allowing them to sell and manage trust property without having to go through probate or any court process. In trust administration they are responsible, of course, to manage and distribute the trust according to your wishes as set forth in the trust.
With a living trust, you also have a lot more freedom to control your property after you pass away. For example, if you have minor children, you can set up the trust so that they receive property when they reach a certain age, or even have multiple distributions when they reach certain ages. Instead of receiving assets outright at age 18, a trust can call that they would receive 1/3 of their share at age 22, 1/3 at age 25, and 1/3 at age 30.
Probate cases can be expensive and can generally take about a year to complete. In probate cases, statutory probate fees are based off of the gross value of the estate:
- 4% of first $100,000 of estate.
- 3% of second $100,000 of estate.
- 2% of next 800,000 of estate.
That means that if the estate is worth $400,000, the statutory fees you would pay would be $9,000. Filing fees and miscellaneous costs (publication in a legal newspaper, etc.) would bring the total probate fees and costs up to around $11,000. When considering the amount of money and time that loved ones would have to put into a probate case, a living trust is a much preferred and easier alternative.
PUTTING YOUR TRUST IN OUR LIVING TRUST ATTORNEYS
Our living trust attorneys at Werner Law Firm are dedicated to representing clients who wish to create a smooth succession plan. If you have any questions or would like an overview of the process, we welcome you to schedule a free consultation.
Our estate planning professionals will explain the legal process in creating these documents, determine what would be most beneficial to you, and figure out a game plan moving forward. Call us today to discuss your legal situation with one of our trusted living trust attorneys.