As part of your estate planning needs, you must consider a living trust, often referred to as a revocable or “inter vivos” trust. If you are a California resident and have more in than $100,000 in assets, a living trust will help you avoid probate or conservatorship down the road. If your estate goes into probate or conservatorship, it can cost considerable time and money for resolution. Also, court documents are eventually made public – which can lead to an unfortunate loss of privacy.
A trust is a legal arrangement under which one person is designated a "trustee." He or she will hold the legal title to property for another person, the beneficiary. You will be the trustee of your own living trust, so you retain full control over all property held in the trust. A "living trust" is a trust you create while you are alive, instead of one which is created at your death. You may wish to create a living trust as a way to reduce your estate taxes, structure long-term property management or avoid probate.
If you are considering a living trust, keep in mind that it must be well drafted; a vague trust can leave too much room for trustee error, or doubts may be cast on its validity, leading to a litigation nightmare. Be sure to work with an experienced living trust attorney to ensure that your trust is competently drafted. The attorneys at Gilfix and La Poll can assist you in determining if a living trust is the best choice for your estate plans.