Revocable living trust, a California estate planning must

Have you ever wondered if you could benefit from a revocable living trust?  Here’s a few benefits:

  1. Flexibility – a revocable living trust can be controlled by the grantor during his or her lifetime as its trustee. The grantor is the person that created the trust.  The grantor trustee can easily change the trust at any time prior to their passing.  For example, assets such as real estate can be transferred in or out of the trust during the grantor’s lifetime.
  2. Privacy – probate of a will is public. When a decedent passes, their will is filed with the court in the county of their residence and becomes public record.
  3. No probate – probating of a will takes time and is costly. Probate in California takes a year on average.  With a trust, there’s no waiting period since the decedent’s assets were transferred during life to the trust.
  4. Wishes honored – since the decedent transferred assets during life to the trust, such transfers are less often subject to challenge. Therefore, a decedent’s intentions are more likely to be honored.

What is a revocable living trust?

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to control your assets during and after life.  As “grantor” of a revocable living trust, you can designate yourself as the trustee and beneficiary during your lifetime.  A trust is different than a will in that it holds legal title to assets that you contribute during your lifetime.

What does it mean to be revocable?

A revocable living trust can hold assets like your home, cars, and bank accounts.  However, the “revocable” aspect allows the grantor to reclaim or take back any assets conveyed to the trust during their lifetime.  Therefore, transfer of assets into the trust doesn’t have to be permanent.  Also, assets can be sold directly out of the trust.  For example, if your revocable living trust held your home and you wanted to sell it during your lifetime, you could sell it out of your trust and receive the sale proceeds.

Do I still need a will?

A trust can go a long way from an estate planning perspective but it’s still a good idea to have a will.  A will can “cleanup” any residual property a decedent left out of their trust.  Also, there are certain limitations to trusts.  For example, you can designate a guardian for your minor children in your will whereas you cannot designate a guardian via trust.

Want to learn more? 

Contact us today to set up an estate planning consultation.