There are a wide variety of trusts that may be appropriate depending on your individual family structure, the value of your estate, and your intentions regarding the distribution of your estate. Through the estate planning process, I will work with you to determine which type or types of trust are most suitable for you.
In many cases, a revocable living trust will provide all of the protection you need and want. In your revocable living trust, you have the chance to (1) identify the people you would like to manage your estate in the event of your incapacity, and administer your estate upon your death; (2) insure that your loved ones and legal dependents will continue to have access to your assets for your care and theirs in the event of your incapacity; and (3) dictate the plan for distributing your estate upon your death. We will also structure your revocable living trust to insure that you assets are distributed in the most tax-efficient manner possible, and that distributions will occur subject to any reasonable conditions you would like to impose.
There are a number of advantages to establishing a revocable living trust, particularly in California. First, a revocable living trust begins working for you as soon as it is established and funded, and can help to insure that the management of your assets during your lifetime is as smooth and easy as possible. Additionally, because your revocable living trust works for your while you are alive, you can be assured that your successor trustee will handle the management and distribution of your assets in the event that you are alive but incapacitated. Finally, one of the most significant benefits of a revocable living trust is that it provides a mechanism for transferring your assets upon your death without going through the probate process. Trust administration happens in the privacy of an attorney’s office, is not a public process, as probate is, and can often be less expensive and take less time than a probate.
As the name indicates, a revocable living trust is fully revocable and amendable so long as the trustmakers are alive and have capacity. There are also irrevocable living trusts, which are not revocable once they are established, but may be appropriate for effectuating lifetime wealth transfers, or for certain situations where additional control is required. We can determine if an irrevocable trust is appropriate for all or any portion of your estate once we have a chance to discuss your estate planning needs.
In most instances, it is important that you have either a revocable living trust or a stand-alone will. If you do not, your estate will almost certainly have to be probated and your assets will be distributed according to the statutory intestate succession scheme, without consideration for your intentions or wishes regarding the distribution of your estate. Because the statutory intestate scheme only provides for legally-related family members, it is particularly important for LGBT folks who are not in a legally-recognized relationship to have documents in place to insure that all of their family members are provided for, irrespective of your legal relationship status.
Please contact the Law Office of Naomi E. Metz to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.