Everything You Need to Know About Trusts
You have worked hard to build up a healthy and vibrant estate. You want to ensure that the money and assets you have accumulated are distributed according to your wishes when you die. Although mortality is not something that you like to think about, it is a reality that you must contend with. And even if you are in good health, you never know when an accident or illness will strike you down. It is better to settle your financial affairs now. You can do so by hiring a family lawyer in Los Angeles.
A Living Trust? What is It?
If you want to help certain loved ones get a good start in life, the LA family issues lawyer you hire can help you establish a living trust. The latter is an arrangement in which a person called a trustee controls and manages assets on behalf of a beneficiary. It is possible for you to be the trustee and keep full control over the property held in trust. You can also appoint someone to fulfil this role or act as a co-trustee in a living trust.
A living trust can help prevent your estate going through probate in the event of your death. It can also help reduce estate taxes and establish a long-term property management plan. A team of Los Angeles probate attorneys can help you set up the kind of trust that you want.
What is the Advantage of Making a Living Trust?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of setting up a living trust is that the property you leave when you die will not have to pass through probate court. The assets set in a trust cannot be touched by the courts. The money, property, and other holdings are essentially owned by the beneficiary and managed by the trustee. Putting your assets in trusts will help your heirs avoid the expense and lengthy process of the probate process, which can last for months and years and can consume more than 5% of your property.
Another advantage of a trust is that it need not ever be made public. Unlike a will, the contents and arrangements of a living trust can be kept confidential. Probate attorneys in LA will ensure that your privacy remains unviolated.
How Much Does It Cost?
If you have modest assets and want to establish a basic living trust, you will not need a lawyer. Such trusts have become so common nowadays that there are apps you can download to help you do it on your own.
If you have a much larger estate with finances that are intricate and complex, you should turn the matter over to a team of trust and estate attorneys in Los Angeles. We will help you stay within the law as you go through the process. If you have built up a large business and you want to leave profits and assets associated with it to loved one through a trust, then it will be necessary to get a lawyer involved.
Will My Beneficiaries Be Protected from My Creditors?
The short answer is no. Technically, all the property that you owned can be claimed by your creditors. However, a living trust can make them work to find out who inherited what. Even though your ownership of your house is a matter of public record, the fact that it has been made part of a trust is not. It will therefore take some time for a creditor to find out who it went to. And by the time they do, it may be too late to file a claim.
Should I Still Make a Will?
You should make a will to ensure that the items and assets that are not put into trust are divided and distributed according to your wishes. If you don’t have a will when you pass, all your property will go to your closest relatives, which may not be what you wanted.
Will I Save Money on Estate Taxes?
A basic living trust will have no effect on the state or federal taxes that you pay. Only those estates worth more than $11 million will owe federal estate tax. Unless your estate is worth more than this, you will not save anything.
And on the subject of taxes, you should know that a living trust does not normally need its own Tax Identification Number while you, the grantor, are still alive. You can use your own social security number when you need to identify the trust or pay taxes on it. A successor trustee will get a separate identification number from the IRS to pay the trust’s taxes.
Making the Right Decision for You and Your Family
If you have made your fortune, it is right for you to start thinking of ways to preserve it for your loved ones. Our trust litigation lawyers possess the expertise and experience to help you do this. They will sit down with you and have a conversation about the people you want to be your beneficiaries and how you want to structure the living trust.
As was said above, a living trust can be set up in many different ways. If you do not want to be personally involved in the administration of it, you can name someone you have the utmost faith and confidence in to be the trustee. As the grantor, you can determine when the beneficiary is to receive the money and on what condition. It is the responsibility of the trustee to see that the criteria and conditions that you have set are met by the beneficiary before the assets are released.
Being a trustee is a serious responsibility. A range of legal obligations come with the position, and the person you select should be trustworthy. The trustee has control of the assets. It is their job to ensure that it remains safe and secure for the beneficiary. Trustees have been sued and held liable for failure to carry out this basic task, and you should ensure that the person you choose for the job understands what they are taking on. Our estate litigation attorneys know the kind of people who make good trustees and can help you draw up a list from which to make your selection. We are in the business of helping people like you organize their estate according to their wishes.
Our attorneys can also help litigate:
- Restraining orders
- Child support
- Child custody
- Property division