Trusts Attorney Serving Los Angeles & Orange County, CA

In uncertain times like the current pandemic, it’s probably more important than ever to plan for the future but it's not an easy thing to do. While many consider a will to document their assets and heirs, the probate process can cost loved ones valuable time and money. Establishing a trust allows you to control your assets and name a beneficiary to oversee the administration of your property in case of incapacitation or death. This allows your estate to bypass the probate process, making it easier for those you leave behind.

The Orantes Law Firm has been helping people with estate planning matters to safeguard their property, benefits, and assets in the event of any unforeseen and unfortunate turn of events. It’s never too early to start your estate planning. We have the experience and knowledge you need to establish a comprehensive trust that protects your assets and your family. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

The Orantes Law firm proudly serves clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California.

Estate Planning Using Trusts in CA

Many people might believe that just executing a will is enough to care for their estate and its inheritance. However, a will alone may be not sufficient in protecting your assets. Most notably, wills go through probate which is a public process of disclosure in which the will can be challenged on technical and other grounds and even modified or disallowed. 

There is another tool that allows you to overcome some shortfalls of a will. A trust is an arrangement in which one party (trustor), appoints another party (trustee), to hold legal title to property or assets for those that will inherit the assets (beneficiary). Generally, the person establishing the trust will name themselves as the trustee of their own estate until the time they become incapacitated or die. This allows them to maintain full control over all property held in trust.

Living trusts, also known as revocable trusts, allow the trustee to change the terms at will, up until the point of incapacitation or death. In contrast, irrevocable trusts are permanent. The only way to change their terms is with the permission of the beneficiaries.

Benefits of Living Trusts

In addition to bypassing probate, saving your loved one’s valuable time and money, trusts have several other benefits:

  • Assets can be kept in the trust until a future date. For example, if you are survived by minor children, assets can remain in the trust and be distributed once the child turns 18, graduates from college, etc.
  • Offers protection in case of mental incapacitation. A trust allows you to specify what you would like to be done in case of incapacitation. Making decisions like this is difficult and should be decided by you. Loved ones often agonize over what to do. A trust allows you to take this burden off of them and receive the care and treatment options you desire.
  • Trusts are private. Whereas a will is considered public record that can be accessed at any time, a trust remains private.
  • Avoid or defer taxes that are owed. Proceeds of a will may be subject to federal estate and income taxes. However, with a trust, you can avoid some taxes

Setting Up a Trust

There are some important steps and factors to consider in setting up a living trust, and the advice and counsel of an estate attorney can prove invaluable.

  • Single or joint trust? A single trust controls only assets that you directly control. A joint trust includes your spouse’s assets as well. 
  • Who is going to be the trustee? Most people appoint themselves as a trustee but there may be other possibilities such as a trusted friend or family member. If naming yourself, a successor trustee must be chosen.
  • What assets should be included? There are several valuable assets that are usually placed in a trust such as property, stocks, and bonds. But other items, such as collectibles and family heirlooms should also be considered.
  • Drawing up the document. There’s no single form for this in California, so it’s best if an attorney draws it up with and for you so that you have the peace of mind that it’s valid and enforceable.
  • Signing the trust and transferring your assets. A trust must be signed in the presence of a notary and then assets must be then be transferred. This is often referred to as “funding the trust.”

Trusts Attorney Serving Los Angeles & Orange County, CA

As with any legal document, there are issues of wording, clarity, and intent. For more than 20 years, the Orantes Law Firm has been successfully guiding clients in their estate planning and providing peace of mind that meaningful assets and decisions are protected for you and your loved ones. It’s never too soon to start planning for an uncertain future. Call us today for a free case consultation.