Putting a home into a trust has several benefits, from avoiding the lengthy probate process to providing potential tax advantages. This article discusses some of the intricacies of trusts and the importance of consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney.
The National Council on Aging defines a trust as a legal arrangement where one person (the grantor) transfers ownership of their assets, like a house, to a trustee. The trustee holds and manages these assets on behalf of the named beneficiaries. One main benefit of putting property in a trust is to avoid probate, which can be a time-consuming and expensive legal process. The trust allows assets to be transferred to beneficiaries without the intervention of a probate court.
With a revocable living trust, you, as the original homeowner, will usually name yourself as the trustee, so you have control of the trust and the property. However, the original owner can name someone else as the trustee. This can be helpful in case the original owner dies and the real estate is distributed to the grantor’s beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement. The trustee manages the property for the benefit of the grantor and any named beneficiaries of the grantor’s estate.
By transferring ownership of your house into a trust, you can ensure that it passes directly to your chosen beneficiaries upon your death without the need to go through probate. Probate costs are borne by the estate and, thus, the beneficiaries. Probate also takes time, and while probate is in process, homes need maintenance, taxes need to be paid and costs add up. If the house is sitting empty, it can become a target for thieves and property scammers. If the trust is an irrevocable trust, it can also help protect assets from potential creditors and may even provide estate tax advantages.
If the house goes through probate, the transfer of property becomes part of the court and public record, and anyone will be able to see who inherited the home. When family dynamics are complicated, this can create long-lasting family battles.
If you have multiple real properties or homes in different states, the properties would be subject to the probate process in the state where located. Thus, if you have a vacation home in Arizona but live in Michigan, your executor will have to navigate probate in both states.
There are primarily two types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust, often called a revocable living trust or a living trust, can be altered or revoked entirely by the grantor while they're alive. It allows homeowners the flexibility to make changes to the trust terms or named beneficiaries. A revocable trust lets a grantor control the property and make changes to the trust during their lifetime. The grantor retains the right to modify or dissolve the trust. The grantor can act as a trustee, manage the property, or appoint someone else. Upon the grantor's death, the revocable trust becomes irrevocable, meaning no further changes can be made.
On the other hand, an irrevocable trust, once established, cannot be easily altered or terminated. Assets in an irrevocable trust are considered outside of the grantor's estate, providing protection against creditors and potential tax advantages.
Creating a trust starts when you engage an experienced estate planning attorney to help you decide the type of trust that best suits your needs for protecting your real and other property. It is essential to work closely with your attorney to complete each step so the home ownership is properly transferred to the trust.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is essential when setting up a trust. They can provide guidance on the most suitable type of trust for your situation and ensure that all legal formalities are correctly observed. An attorney can help draft the trust document, ensuring that it aligns with state laws, and provide advice on transferring assets into the trust. Moreover, they can act as a valuable resource for questions or concerns, ensuring that the trust serves its intended purpose effectively.
Putting your house into a trust is a strategic move for estate planning and avoiding probate. Furthermore, if the trust is irrevocable, it may help protect assets from potential creditors and provide estate tax advantages. Whether you opt for a revocable or irrevocable trust, it's imperative to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your assets, wishes, and beneficiaries are well-protected. Remember, a well-structured trust is more than just a legal document; it's a legacy planning tool.
If you need help setting up a trust but don't know where to start, we are here to help! Contact The Werner Law Firm probate attorneys in Los Angeles for a free consultation!
If you have any questions, schedule a free appointment with us through our online appointment page.
You can also read reviews from some of the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.
Founded in 1975 by L. Rob Werner and serving California for over 48 years, our dedicated attorneys are available for clients, friends, and family members to receive the legal help they need and deserve. You can trust in our experience and reputation to help navigate you through your unique legal matters.
Whether you need help creating a living trust or navigating probate, our living trust law firm's compassionate team of estate planning lawyers and probate lawyers are here to help you and ready to answer your questions.
Our goal is to make your case as easy as possible for you. Hiring a lawyer can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. From the moment you contact our firm, through the final resolution of your case, our goal is to make the process easy and understandable. We cannot change the fact that probate is a long and complicated process, but through our Werner Law Firm Difference, we strive to go out of our way to keep you informed of your case through every step of the way. We are constantly refining our processes and procedures for a more streamlined and calm client experience. Our goal is to have you feel like a burden was lifted from your shoulders, and that we made the whole process an easy one
If you're dealing with a legal matter, we urge you to schedule a free initial appointment today and join the many satisfied clients who have contacted Werner Law Firm.
23 Corporate Plaza Dr., Suite 150
Newport Beach, California 92660