Estate planning is a necessity for anyone who wants to provide for their family after their death. Estate planning is not a simple matter, and it involves a range of legal concepts and documents. However, the common goal is usually simple: determine how to distribute property after death and determine what happens if you become incapacitated and cannot manage your affairs.
Our experienced living trust attorneys will carefully listen to your needs and concerns and work out a living trust that helps you obtain your desired results. At the NewPoint Law Group, LLP, our attorneys partner with our clients, offering them the tools necessary to meet their estate planning needs. Contact us today at 800-358-0305 to schedule a consultation.
Revocable Living Trusts as Estate Planning Tools
A living trust allows an individual to manage their assets while they are alive while providing for their family and friends after they die. A living trust is an estate planning instrument that goes into immediate effect while the creator is still alive. The person who creates the trust is the “settlor” or “grantor,” and the administrator of the trust is known as the “trustee.” Usually, the grantor and the trustee are the same person in a living trust.
A living trust is “revocable” while the grantor is alive. That means the trustee can alter or amend the trust if they want to. Any change is permissible, from adding or removing property, altering beneficiaries, or canceling the trust, if required. Only when the grantor dies does the living trust become an “irrevocable” trust, ensuring that the grantor’s wishes remain intact.
Your living trust should be tailored to your specific needs. Our experienced living trust attorneys will work with you to meet your specific financial goals.
Benefits of Living Trusts for Roseville and Sacramento Residents
There are many benefits to having a living trust. Some of these benefits are excellent financial benefits, while others are personal benefits:
Probate, the process of executing a will in the courts, was designed to make sure an individual’s creditors are paid before the assets of their estate are disbursed to their heirs. When a grantor passes away, the trust property will pass through the probate court. Instead, the property is distributed directly to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. This significantly decreases the cost and stress associated with probate. Usually, assets and property are disbursed much faster through a trust document than through a will.
When a will passes through probate, it becomes a matter of public record. Because living trusts do not require probate, they will remain hidden from the public. Through a living trust, a grantor could bequeath significant assets and funds in privacy. This can be helpful to avoid showing the public how much money you have or where your assets are going.
Through careful planning and construction, a living trust could reduce the tax obligations that would usually be required if an estate was probated. Estate taxes can take a large portion of your funds away from your children and spouse when you pass. Using a living trust helps avoid some of those tax burdens and helps your family get more of what you pass on to them.
Trust Administration for Living Trusts in Roseville and Sacramento
How a trust is administered will vary depending on the circumstances of the trust, the assets in the trust, and the beneficiaries. After the settlor dies, the trust administration is usually passed off to a specific person or a law firm to manage the funds and assets in the trust. Often, administrating a small family trust can be completed in months. However, if a trust consists of substantial assets and a large number of beneficiaries, the administration could take much longer. Our Roseville and Sacramento attorneys provide valuable assistance in dealing with complicated legal and tax issues that could arise.
No matter how complex or straightforward the administration is, the trustee is required to follow some procedural steps:
First, the trustee has a legal duty to notify all beneficiaries and heirs. Any party that wants to challenge the trust has 120 days from the mailing of the official notices.
A fiduciary duty exists to maintain trust assets. The administrator of the trust could be held liable should anything adversely affect the value of the trust property. One of the first things a trustee should do is identify and obtain title of all of the assets in the name of the trust. Additionally, the trustee has a responsibility to prudently invest the assets of the trust during the administration period. This includes renting or selling unused property and making investments with reasonable returns. To adequately fulfill this duty, the trustee should have access to any recent appraisals to determine the value of the trust property.
Part of administering a trust includes the distribution of funds to parties other than the heirs and beneficiaries. This includes creditors and taxing authorities. It is important to note that a trustee could be held personally liable for failing to pay creditors. Tax returns for the deceased and the trust estate must be completed and filed, and all applicable taxes must be paid.
Finally, the assets need to be disbursed to the beneficiaries. The trustee should follow the instructions contained in the provisions of the trust document. If no specific instructions exist, the trustee should devise a plan for distribution. At that point, the assets should be transferred, including the deeds, bank accounts, or other tangible property.
Call Our Living Trusts Lawyers to Schedule a Legal Consultation
Our experienced living trust attorneys will carefully listen to your needs and concerns and propose the best plans to obtain your desired results. In many cases, this might mean forming a living trust. At NewPoint Law Group, LLP, our attorneys offer our clients the tools necessary to meet their estate planning needs. Contact us today at 800-358-0305 to schedule a legal consultation.