A revocable trust is often the most important part of a person’s estate plan.
Also known as a living trust, a revocable trust:
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While setting up a trust may seem more expensive than creating a will, overall, the trust will cost your estate much less to distribute assets upon your death. Wills must go through probate, which can be a costly and lengthy process. If you plan to leave significant assets to your family or friends, consider creating a trust.
One important reason people set up a trust is that if a person becomes incapacitated or pass away, whoever they designate as their successor trustee will take control of their estate with little to no court oversight. Trusts are usually administered within a few months from the time of death. It can easily take months and sometimes years to fully settle a will through probate.
The administration of a trust does not require public notice of death to allow creditors to file a claim for monies owed against your estate. Trusts offer protection against creditors and limit their reach in regards to trust assets. When an asset within a trust is transferred to a beneficiary, the beneficiary may also get protection against creditors so long as the assets stay in the trust.
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Many individuals choose to create a living trust so their estate can avoid probate upon their death. Oftentimes, probate is an expensive and complicated process that your family has to take care of after you pass. Plus, if you create a living trust, you can make it revocable. In other words, you have the option to change or terminate it at any time before you die.
That said, some people need a living trust more than others. For example, if a married couple without children wishes to be each other’s sole heirs, they will probably not require a living trust. However, if a couple has children, they should have a living trust. This document will allow them to pass on their estate to their children in a simpler manner.
Keep in mind that in California, if your estate is worth $166,250 or less, you will not need a living trust to save on probate. Instead, state law allows for a simplified probate for smaller estates. On the other hand, you may choose to create a will even if you have a valid living trust. Within your will, you can write a provision that allows for any property not identified in the trust to be transferred to it upon your death. Ultimately, you should take all steps possible to simplify your estate planning.
With a will, you need to file a public notice of death to allow creditors the opportunity to file a claim for monies owed against your estate. However, the administration of a trust does not require public notice. Certain trusts offer protection against creditors and limit their reach in regards to trust assets.
When an asset within a trust is transferred to a beneficiary, the beneficiary may also get protection against creditors so long as the assets stay in the trust.
The biggest benefit of having a trust is that it avoids probate.
In California, estates with real property or estates valued over $166,250 usually have to be settled through some type of formal court probate process. This process is very costly and can take from 5 to 7 months to complete.
With a trust, administration of a trust after the death of the trustee is relatively simple and inexpensive.
Another benefit of having a trust is to manage the property if a person becomes incapacitated. A revocable living trust allows your successor trustee to take over whenever you become incapacitated. There is generally no interruption in the management of your property, and there is no requirement for a court-appointed conservator.
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