Living Trusts: What’s True and What’s False

Living trusts serve a crucial role in your estate plan because they allow your family to avoid probate and ensure that you can distribute your assets according to your wishes once you pass away. However, some of the myths and misconceptions about living trusts can create a lot of confusion. Our trust attorneys in San Diego want to address those misunderstandings so that you feel more comfortable establishing a trust as part of your estate plan.


Related post: 4 Reasons to Incorporate a Trust into Your Estate Plan


Here are some of the myths and facts about living trusts:


The Myths

There are many misconceptions about living trusts that may deter a person from including it in their estate plan. The truth is that it serves as one of the best estate planning tools in California. Here are some of the more common myths that you should know about:


Living trusts are only for the wealthy: This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can always create a living trust, no matter your income or social status. Living trusts are not exclusively for people who are rich. In fact, an argument can be made that a living trust and avoiding probate is more important for someone with a more modest estate, as the hit from legal fees during the process can have a much more dramatic effect than a large estate. Legal fees hurt in both scenarios, but in a modest estate the fees may completely deplete what’s left.


The funds in a living trust are inaccessible: In a “living” trust or revocable trust, you can access funds whenever you want and spend the money however you like. You can also determine who does and doesn’t have access to the money in a living trust. A living trust also won’t alter existing mortgages or property taxes.


Living trusts are extremely complicated: The trust planning process is fairly routine. You will make an appointment to sit down with one of our estate planning attorneys in San Diego and talk about not only your assets but the way that you would like them distributed when you pass away. From there, we will draft the documents for you, review them independently or together, and then arrange for a signing date. Estate Planning does not have to be an overly complicated process when you have a professional team on your side.



The Facts

Living trusts are popular in estate planning for several reasons, mainly because they allow you to avoid probate and reduce your taxable assets, but also because there are endless types of trusts to fit your individualized needs beyond these popular uses. However, we want to explain what a living trust is in greater detail so that you know what to expect ahead of time:


Flexibility when it comes to the terms of your living trust: You have the choice to determine the trustee and include as many beneficiaries as you desire. You can also alter the terms of your living trust as circumstances change over time, and adjust the distribution plan to fit your wishes as they develop. You can place personal items, financial accounts, real property, and any other assets into the trust and specifically determine how those items pass to the people of your choosing.


Creating a joint living trust for married couples: You and your spouse can establish a joint trust at any time, which will certainly come in handy for married couples with a lot of property and assets in both of their names. You and your spouse will essentially serve as co-trustees, and you are setting each other up for the best way to hold title to property as a married couple, both from a tax and ease of use perspective. There are a tremendous number of ways to customized how a married couple trust is established though, so speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney will be extremely important to capture all possible benefits.


Covering all of your bases: Think about any outside assets that you can include in your living trust. This includes personal possessions, property, and anything else that you own in which you can attach a monetary or sentimental value. You can also include assignments that allow you to transfer assets automatically into the trust when you pass away. Having everything you own pass through the trust is one of the best ways to ensure your wishes are adhered to and avoid any conflict.


Related post: 5 Reasons Working with an Estate Planning Attorney is Key 


Schedule an Appointment with a Trust Attorney in San Diego Today

Our estate planning attorney can help you establish a living trust and handle any other aspects of your estate plan. We provide reliable estate planning services for the residents of San Diego and southern California. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that you can properly manage and oversee the distribution of your assets according to how you see fit. Get in touch with us today to book your appointment.

Michael Jenkins

Michael Jenkins

Estate planning became personal to Michael when his father passed away suddenly without any plan in place. Since that day Michael has made it his mission to educate everyone on the need for an estate plan, provide the legal advice and guidance needed, and ensure that no family is left dealing with estate issues while grieving the loss of a loved one.


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