California Family Trust
Revocable Living Trust Attorney Serving all of California
Here in California, we use a “revocable living trust” or a “family trust” to provide a vehicle to allow your assets to pass to your heirs or beneficiaries without having to go through the expense, time and hassle of probate.
California law requires that if you own any property at your passing, you must go through probate. The family trust allows you to protect and pass on assets such as the family home, the family business or business interests, bank accounts, investment accounts, collections, personal property and other valuables.
The person or persons creating the family trust and placing items within the trust are the trustors. You do not give up control of your assets when you place them in the trust. You still have the ability to borrow against them, invest them, transfer them or sell them, and any other form of direction and control that you would have as if the property was not within the trust. The trustor transfers the property to the “trustee”. The trustee is the party (usually yourself) who administers the assets within the trust during your life, and the successor trustee is the party ultimately responsible for distributing the assets upon the passing of the trustors in accordance with your wishes. You may name anyone as the successor trustee. Usually it is your spouse, one of your children or a close trusted friend.
Trusts may seem to be complex, but in essence they are a simple agreement between you and your trustee (i.e. yourself). They are not recorded and are not public documents, and therefore protect and keep confidential all of your personal information and transactional activities. In the family trusts I provide for my clients, they are able to make changes, move assets in and out of the trust, or revoke it altogether depending upon their needs and changing circumstances.
Why do I Need an Experienced Attorney to Establish My Family Trust?
As an experienced business and planning attorney with more than 25 years experience, I have seen too many instances of trusts that were not set up correctly, or worse yet, where the clients paid for the trust itself, but never moved their assets into the trust (known as “funding the trust”). It is also important to consider and memorialize all possible outcomes for the future, so that your intentions and the people who are important to you are provided for regardless of potential developments, even after your passing. It’s like having the benefits of a will without the cost, time and hassle of going through the probate process.