Many people believe having a will is sufficient to prepare for the future of their estates. While making a will is a good idea, there is another critical California estate planning document that could be essential to your estate plan. Here are some reasons why Californians may need a living trust:

What is a Living Trust?

A California living trust is a legal device that can be established by its creator or settlor, for the benefit of named beneficiaries during the settlor’s lifetime. The trust will be funded with assets and have terms that establish the conditions under which disbursements (payments) can be made to the beneficiaries. There will also be a trustee who will be in charge of overseeing the administration of the trust and safeguarding its financial well-being. The settlor can be a beneficiary and the trustee of a living trust.

The Benefits of a Living Trust

One of the primary benefits of a living trust is that assets within the trust will not have to go through probate when the settlor dies. The assets are the property of the trust, and therefore cannot be added to the probate estate. When the settlor dies, the trust will convert to an irrevocable trust and either continue under its terms, or pass to the beneficiaries.  Another positive aspect of having a living trust is that you can create specific terms that determine how your beneficiaries can use disbursements. With a will, you can’t control what happens with your bequests. However, a living trust allows the settlor to dictate the purposes for which payments can be made. For instance, the trust may limit disbursements to pay for a grandchild’s educational expenses, or stipulate that they are for the specialized care of a sibling with a disability. Additionally, unlike a will that has to go through a public probate proceeding, a trust administration can be conducted privately.

You Can Have a Will and a Living Trust Together

Depending on your estate and assets, you may want to have both a will and a living trust. There may be some provisions that belong in a will and other property you would prefer to place in a trust. Your California will and living trust can work in tandem to benefit you, your estate, and your loved ones. In some circumstances, there will be a “pour over” provision in the will that directs certain assets into the trust upon the death of a testator. This language can help direct property into the trust and keep it out of the probate estate.

Contact an Experienced California Trust Attorney

A California living trust can be a useful estate planning device that can benefit you and your loved ones. However, it’s crucial to create your trust with the advice and expertise of an experienced California estate planning attorney.

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have experience helping clients create wills, living trusts, and other vital estate planning devices. Please contact us online or by phone to schedule an appointment and start working towards a solution. https://www.salvolaw.com/contact/