Woodland Hills Trust Attorney

Drafting Trusts for CA clients

Thinking about planning for death can be overwhelming, but executing the right testamentary documents can help a person decide what happens to assets after he or she dies and assures that appropriate provisions are made for those who depend on you. Trusts and wills are the most widely recognized types of documents.  The person who sets up a trust is referred to as the trustor, grantor or settlor.  The person who benefits from a trust is the beneficiary.  The person who manages the trust assets is called the trustee.

A testamentary trust is created in a will.  It can help manage assets for children or others who inherit through a will but this type of trust does not avoid probate, instead it comes into existence and is funded during the administration of a probate of the decedent’s will.

An inter vivos trust commonly referred to as a family trust or a living trust, is created and funded during the lifetime.  Assets that are held in this type of trust on the death of the trustor can avoid probate.

While a trust created during lifetime can be irrevocable, the overwhelming majority of the time, when people talk about Family Trusts or Living Trusts, they are referring to revocable trusts which are prepared as “will substitutes”.   The terms and conditions set out in a revocable trust can be changed so long as the person creating the trust is alive and capable of handling his or her own affairs.

Living Trusts can be set up by individuals or couples.  Married persons can set up trust with a spouse or alone.  It all depends on what type of assets and for what purpose the trust is being created.

The person who sets up the revocable living trust transfers their own assets to the trust.  This is referred to as funding.  For example, the trustor will execute a new deed transferring the interest in real property to himself as the trustee of the revocable trust.   Transferring the assets is a crucial step to avoiding probate.  Since these trusts often last for many, many years, assets acquired during these years must also be transferred to the trust.  Funding a trust and keeping it funded is an ongoing lifetime process.

The most significant benefit to using a revocable trust instead of a will to distribute assets on death is that assets in the trust avoid probate.  However, if assets are not in the trust at death it may be necessary to probate those assets and then transfer them to the trust to be distributed to heirs and beneficiaries.  Planning an estate deserves the attention of a compassionate, knowledgeable, and effective attorney. The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman understands the hardship of thinking that far ahead. Our firm is ready to ease you through tough topics and develop and estate plan that meets your needs. If you would like to discuss executing a trust, contact our firm for a consultation.

Irrevocable or revocable trust?

The terms and conditions set out in a revocable trust can be changed at any time so long as the person creating the trust is alive and capable of handling his or her own affairs. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed once executed aside from a few exceptions.  According to probate code 15403, California allows for the modification and/or termination of irrevocable trusts under the right circumstances, namely with the consent of the beneficiary and other exceptions. For the most part, irrevocable trusts cannot be amended or terminated.

What trusts are available to me?

There are many types of trusts designed to address many different situations.  When planning an estate, each trust provides the ability to develop a tailored approach to allocating assets. Some of the many trusts available include marital trusts, testamentary trusts, bypass trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable leads trusts, special needs trusts and generation-skipping trusts, just to name a few.

Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman

Developing the right estate plan can be a complicated process. It is important to discuss your goals and vision for your assets with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. At The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman, we are passionate about helping people who need to think about the future. Trusts are a great way to pass assets to loved ones and our firm is ready to help you make the most educated decisions possible. Our warm and comfortable meetings will ease your stress as we help you prepare your estate. For more information, contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman.