What’s a living trust? It’s an estate planning document that gives you more control over everything you own. It also comes in handy when you want to distribute your assets and property evenly among beneficiaries after you pass away. Look at an average revocable living trust as essentially the same thing as a Will (something that says who gets what when you pass away), but it gives you more control, keeps your family out of Probate Court, and provides your beneficiaries with more protection than a Will. You may have a few questions that you were afraid to ask about living trusts., but don’t fret; our trust attorneys in San Diego are here to go over them and provide you with some answers:
Question #1 – Should You Be Concerned About How Your Children Will Manage Your Property?
This is a valid question, although discussing the issue with your loved ones can be awkward. The truth is that you should take your time and carefully choose a successor trustee when it comes to living trusts, and you should have full faith in how this individual will manage your property. If you believe your children aren’t responsible enough to manage your assets in peace, you may want to appoint someone else. This can be another trusted family member or advisor, or even someone who administers trusts as their profession.
Question #2 – Will a Living Trust Cause Family Conflict?
Infighting or turmoil within the family over asset distribution isn’t uncommon, although without fail nearly everyone assumes their family will have no conflict. Having no plan or an inadequate plan is the best wait to send your estate into turmoil and invite issues amongst family. You can always make provisions to a living trust to help avoid and prevent any conflict, but in reality, having a living trust established in the first place is perhaps the best thing you can do to avoid infighting in the courts. Although a disgruntled family member could always dispute their inheritance, a living trust is often the best way to head off such disagreements and keep the estate out of Court altogether.
Question #3 – How Complex Are Your Estate Planning Needs?
The answer to this question depends on what you want to accomplish with your estate plan. Every family structure is different, and your situation will evolve over time. The best thing you can do is take inventory of everything you own and determine what you want to leave behind for your beneficiaries, and how you want that inheritance to happen.
The most significant benefit of a living trust is that you can avoid probate and exert control over an inheritance. The probate process involves the court system, which can be time-consuming, burdensome, and very costly depending on the size of your estate. Without a plan, assets that are probated can end up in the wrong hands according to generic law, but a living trust gives you control over how you divide your estate beforehand and keeps everything out of court.
Question #4 – How Important Is Your Privacy?
The other downside of going through probate is that information regarding your assets will become public knowledge. If you value privacy, you should consider creating a living trust. Believe it or not, there are entire industries that get leads from Probate proceedings, and your family will not be exempt from these solicitors. A living trust keeps all of your information private amongst your family with no prying eyes from the general public or anyone looking to get a lead.
Question #5 – What Should You Do With the Real Estate You Own?
If you are unsure how to transfer property to your beneficiaries, you can place any real estate you own within a trust and have it take title of the property. This doesn’t mean you lose control of the property; instead, you control it completely through the living trust. Not only are there tax benefits of passing property to beneficiaries through a trust (instead of by title while you’re alive), you can also set out specific instructions in dealing with property should you choose.
Question #6 – Should You Speak With an Attorney if You’re Uncertain About Something?
The truth is that you should always speak with an attorney before you create a living trust. At Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys in San Diego, we have a team of experts who can help you get started on your living trust from anywhere in California. We can guide you through the estate planning process and simplify everything for you. Our job is to ensure that your legacy lives on long after you pass away, and we’d be honored to assist in getting your plan in place.