This is the next post in my series on why San Bernardino, California residents need an estate plan. My last article discussed the importance of having a last will and testament. Not having a will can result in one’s assets being distributed in a way that is not consistent with their wishes as well as infighting amongst their relatives. Consulting with an attorney can help to ensure that your loved ones do not find themselves in such a situation. In this article, I will discuss an important topic – the need for a Trust as part of your estate plan. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
A Trust is considered a separate legal entity in which one places all or a portion of their assets. The first benefit of creating such an arrangement is that it can allow your heirs to skip probate in the event of your death. This is done by placing your assets into a Trust and naming beneficiaries. During your lifetime, the Trust would hold your belongings, take title to real property, issue checks to pay your bills, and be the vessel through which your financial affairs are managed. The Trustee is the person responsible for managing and controlling the Trust. While you are alive, the Trustee could be you and your spouse or you may decide to name a third party. After passing, a third-party, acts as the Trustee and ensures the proper management and distribution of your trust assets, known as “estate” to the beneficiaries named in your Trust in accordance with your wishes. This would allow your heirs to skip the probate process which can leave one’s assets tied up for months or even years. After a person passes away his or her loved ones can worry about the healing process rather than spending time dealing with the lengthy and complicated probate process.
A second benefit of a Trust is that it allows for a greater level of control over the distribution of assets than would a simple will. Say, for example, that a person wishes to leave their assets to a child or grandchild but wishes for the assets to only be distributed under certain conditions. A Trust allows for such arrangements while only having a simple will could result in the assets being distributed immediately. Say, for example, that one wishes for a grandchild to inherit their bank account, but only after the grandchild completes their college degree. A Trust would allow for such an arrangement and the Trustee would continue to manage the bank account until the conditions of the Trust are satisfied. Additionally, having only a will requires the assets be distributed in probate, if the estate value is in excess of the statutory minimum amount.
For many individuals, it makes sense to use a Trust as part of their estate plan. As a San Bernardino estate planning attorney, I assist with the creation of such arrangements. Call today to schedule a consultation and to speak with a lawyer. We also service Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley, Redlands, Highland, Colton, Yucaipa, Montclair, elsewhere in the Inland Empire, as well as Los Angeles.