Estate planners use trusts in a variety of ways to accomplish many different goals for clients. Because trusts can function in so many ways—and because they are artificial legal creations—trusts can be complex and confusing.
If you want to create a trust, change a trust, manage a trust, or just learn more about the advantages a trust could provide in California, the dedicated team at Blacksburg Law is ready to assist. We take the time to review the big picture with you as well as the intricate details so that you can make informed decisions that are right for your future. Trust terms are important, but your personal needs and goals are more important, so we want to ensure that your trust operates in the way that serves you best.
Trusts Can Hold and Protect All Types of Property
A trust is a form of legal entity created to hold property, so it can be thought of as a virtual container. Trusts often hold liquid assets such as investment funds and real estate; but they can also hold virtually any other type of property. Estate planners build trusts to protect property in various ways.
Revocable living trusts in California are created to prevent property from needing to go through the probate process when the original owner of the property passes away. These types of trusts also protect property by allowing for asset management if the creator of the trust becomes incapacitated.
Other types of trusts provide different protections. For instance, spendthrift trusts protect property for individuals who are still developing the maturity to manage their own money. Once we understand your objectives, we can explain the trust options that meet those objectives.
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Trustees and Beneficiaries
When someone creates a trust and transfers assets into the trust, then from that point on, the trust technically owns the assets. Trust property is managed by the trustee and the property is held for use by the beneficiary. The three roles—trust creator, trustee, and beneficiary—can be held by different people, but in some cases, the person who creates the trust also serves as the trustee and enjoys the use of the property as the beneficiary.
A trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage the property in a way that serves the best interests of the trust and the beneficiary rather than in a way that serves their own needs. The person chosen to serve as trustee must be honest and reliable. It is also helpful if the trustee has a good understanding of money management or is willing to work with a professional who can help ensure that investments are managed in a way that enables them to appreciate in value.
Avoiding California Probate with a Revocable Living Trust
When we create revocable living trusts for people and help them transfer assets into the trust, that allows their property to eventually pass to loved ones outside the probate process. Probate refers to the legal court proceedings and requirements for handling an individual’s estate property after their death. It is a complicated and lengthy process that ties up property for up to 18 months.
With a living trust, the creator of the trust serves as the trustee and beneficiary so they use and control the trust property just as they did before it was placed in the trust. However, the trust will also have a successor trustee and successor beneficiaries. When the creator of the trust becomes incapacitated or passes away, the successor trustee can take over management of the property without any delays. The new trustee can pay final bills and distribute remaining property to the successor beneficiaries much more quickly and easily than if that property had to go through probate. In addition, the terms of the trust remain private, unlike a will which becomes a public document when admitted to probate.
Help with Trust Administration
The team at Blacksburg Law can assist with all aspects of managing a trust. Whether you just want guidance to understand how to administer a trust on your own or need someone to handle management tasks on an ongoing basis, we can help you comply with trust terms and applicable regulations.
In addition, with over 20 years of experience, we have relationships with a broad range of asset managers who can support prudent trust asset management. Our resources are at your disposal.
When it Comes to Trusts, Blacksburg Law Keeps You Prepared
At Blacksburg Law, we are familiar with the benefits a trust can provide and the requirements for establishing and maintaining the types of trusts geared for particular goals. We want you to become familiar with the advantages as well. Schedule an appointment with our team so that we can discuss how a trust can help protect your loved ones.
Estate Planning Basics
A START-UP GUIDE TO ESTATE PLANNING
Download our Estate Planning Basics PDF Guide to get more information about what estate planning is, how it works, what you need to consider, and why Blacksburg Law is the right partner for you.
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