Having a California living trust is an excellent way to plan for your estate and provide for your beneficiaries. However, as with any part of your estate plan, it’s essential to make regular updates. If you have not revisited this key document for some time, you need to know: Is your living trust in order?
A living trust allows its creator to transfer legal ownership of property, funds, and other assets into the trust body. The trust will have a trustee, who can be you or another person, and named beneficiaries. You can also be a beneficiary of the trust. As the trust creator or grantor, you will identify assets that you want to have placed in the trust. This can include real estate, stocks, money, personal property, and anything else of value. The trust will have terms that dictate how and under what circumstances payments can be made to beneficiaries. When the grantor dies, the assets will be excluded from the probate estate and distributed according to the trust terms. Unlike a will, the grantor can state that trust payments can only be made for specific purposes. Additionally, because they occur outside of probate, trust administrations are private.
If you had the benefit of creating an estate plan with a California estate planning attorney, you probably have four critical devices: Your Living Trust, Your Will, Your California Advance Health Care Directive, and Your Power of Attorney for Finances. When you prepared your California living trust, you and your counsel probably took stock of your assets and identified the most appropriate ones to transfer into your living trust. As time passed, you may have acquired new property or sold some trust assets. If there have been changes like these, you will want to make further transfers and update your trust information. Likewise, you may want to name new beneficiaries, change your trustee, or amend your trust terms to suit your present conditions. There may also have been changes to the law that impact your living trust. Making updates can help ensure that your trust document accurately reflects the law and is working to your maximum benefit.
Your California living trust is part of your overall estate plan. Therefore, making changes to this document can impact other plan areas. When examining your living trust, thinking about your will, Advance Health Care Directive, and power of attorney for finances at the same time can help you make sure your updates are consistent and that these devices work in concert with one another.
The best way to make any necessary updates to your California living will and other estate planning documents is by working with an experienced California estate planning attorney. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we understand the importance of estate planning and have the expertise to help you take a comprehensive look at your situation and prepare for the future. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.