Estate Planning: Understanding Living Trusts

When trying to figure out how estate planning works in Los Angeles, you might chance upon the option to develop a living trust. Setting one up with an estate planning lawyer you trust could not only safeguard your Los Angeles assets from scrutiny, but provide a detailed plan after your passing to guide your family as they navigate next steps.

Here are some FAQs to remember about living trusts:

What Exactly Is A Living Trust?

Think of it as a more detailed, secure will. A living trust is meant to oversee the transfer of assets after your death. It is a legal document that establishes a trust for any assets you want to transfer into it.

You are the grantor of the trust, and you can appoint a trusted individual to be the successor trustee. Their job is to oversee the distribution of your trust’s assets after your death to whom you’d want them to go to. If you’ve got too many assets to account for yourself in Los Angeles, your estate planning attorney can help you with this.

Why Go For A Living Trust When I Can Write A Will?

Life as we know it is unpredictable. We never know if someday, we become mentally or physically incapacitated and can no longer deal with our assets personally. Having a living trust in place helps get these assets to the right successors without the need of a will, which is only effective after death.

Plus, a will needs to be validated by a probate court before it can become enforced. Probate is a public process that can be costly and time-consuming for your family. While probate is going on, it’s entirely possible for the court to freeze your assets, so your family won’t even have access to them. In case of an emergency and they need immediate access to your assets, the court may also opt to deny your family permission for whatever reason they deem fit.

What Documents Do I Need For Estate Planning?

Before the living trust can be developed, here are a few things you need to prepare:

  • A list of all assets, including bank accounts, investments, significant valuables, and real estate
  • A list of everything you currently own
  • The paperwork attached to your assets
  • A list of your beneficiaries
  • A document certifying your successor trustee
  • A list containing the name of a guardian or guardians for your children

Here are some documents your real estate lawyer may help provide you with while the process is ongoing as well:

  • Will
  • Living trust
  • Advance health care directive
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Funding letter
  • Trust transfer deed
  • Preliminary change of ownership report
  • Assignment agreement

What Is An Estate Lawyer?

Attorneys who specialize in estate planning either charge you a flat or hourly fee to help plan your will or living trust. They’re also there for you in the case of an asset dispute, and are prepared to represent you if the dispute should come to court.

A good estate planning lawyer should also help you avoid having to deal with probate court, especially if you choose to establish a living trust to help you take care of your assets when you die.

Some of the benefits of having an estate lawyer include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Help with designating your beneficiaries
  • Helping you find ways to reduce or avoid estate tax
  • Assistance with setting up trusts for beneficiaries, in the event of your incapacitation and/or death
  • Accessible power of attorney and medical durable power of attorney
  • Assistance with the creation of a will, if you choose to write one

Hire An Estate Planning Lawyer

Looking for your next estate planning attorney in Los Angeles? The Law Office of R. Grace Rodriguez is here for you!

We know how difficult it is to prepare for the inevitable, so we also offer counseling while the estate planning process is underway. Our lawyers are trained to deal with situations that may cause you financial stress, such as bankruptcy, real estate, probate, and estate planning.

Strategize with our attorney today by visiting our website and clicking the ‘Consult Today’ button. You may also call us directly at (818) 734-7223. See you soon!

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