Your Skilled California Trust Attorneys

Trust Attorney | Chula Vista | The Law Offices of Daniel M. LittleYou have worked hard to get where you are today, so you should take the necessary steps to protect your assets for the future. Naming your assets in a living trust is a good way to get started with a proper estate plan. There are many advantages to having a trust established during your lifetime, and upon your death it will avoid the costly and time-consuming probate process. Some trusts are beneficial for reducing California estate taxes, and some can grant specific powers to the named trustees.

Each serves a specific purpose, and all are useful tools to include in your comprehensive estate plan. Some trusts can even be created following a death as a will dictates.

California Living Trusts

A living trust serves many purposes. It can organize and delegate control over your assets and help your family avoid probate later down the road. Anyone can benefit from the addition of a living trust to their estate plan, and there are many types to choose from. By definition, a living trust is an arrangement in which one person holds legal title to another person’s property, created during the creator’s lifetime. It can grant specific powers to the named person or persons (called beneficiaries) that are enacted as soon as the trust is completed. You can name yourself as a trustee to your own trust, which allows you to keep full control over all the property in the document. You may have also heard the term “revocable living trust,” which simply means the trust is able to be revised in the future as needed.

If you’re considering using a trust to reduce federal estate taxes, an AB trust might be right for you. Keep in mind that federal taxes are only applied to estates worth more than $5 million as of 2015, so a trust may not be necessary for that purpose. But there are countless other benefits to having a trust incorporated into your overall estate plan. Speak with an experienced estate planning and trust attorney in San Diego to see what options are best for you.

Special Needs Trusts

Sometimes additional financial support is needed for disabled individuals without disqualifying his or her public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments or Medi-Cal benefits. Receiving a gift or inheritance of non-exempt assets of more than $2,000 will disqualify a person from receiving benefits until the gift or inheritance is spent to $2,000 or less. In some cases, this can be avoided by proper planning and use of a Special Needs Trust.

When drafting your estate plan, it’s important to specifically place the share intended for the incapacitated individual into a Special Needs Trust for their benefit. If others will also be contributing to the trust, it’s wise to have it set up separately from your estate plan to allow them to immediately make contributions without affecting the disabled person’s benefits. At the Law Offices of Daniel M. Little, we can further explain Special Needs Trusts and help you get started with a plan that fits your family’s needs.

Trust Administration

In general terms, the administration of revocable living trusts takes place upon the death of the creator, or settlor. It’s common for the settlor of a revocable trust to also be a trustee of that trust during his or her lifetime. Upon the settlor’s death, the individual designated by the trust (known as the successor trustee) becomes responsible for administering the trust in accordance with the wishes of the settlor, expressed in the trust’s terms. The successor trustee has specific duties and legal responsibilities as set forth in the terms of the trust and by the California probate code.

The Law Offices of Daniel M. Little has administered hundreds of trust estates since our beginning in 1986, and we can help with yours too. Our lawyers regularly participate in ongoing and continuing education classes to ensure our advice is based upon the latest laws. When you come to us, you can rest assured that your estate is in the most experienced and capable hands in San Diego.

The knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel M. Little can help you with all of your California living trust needs. Call us today at (619) 656-8848 or visit us in Chula Vista and North County.