Arranging a revocable trust is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to protect assets. By transferring ownership of property to a trust the estate bypasses the probate process and assets can be gifted to beneficiaries soon after death.
Most people prefer a revocable trust because the terms can be changed when needed. Trusts need to be modified when life situations change. For instance, modifications would be required if a person sells real estate that was placed in the trust or purchases assets after the trust is established.
Anyone who owns real estate or other forms of titled property they want to pass along to heirs should consider setting up a trust. Married couples often title real estate using joint tenants of survivorship so their partner will automatically inherit it upon death.
The problem with this method is if the surviving spouse dies and has only left a last will and testament, the house will have to go through probate before being passed along to rightful heirs.
Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process. This is especially true in the state of California, which is known for prolonging probate for as long as two years. Furthermore, heirs will be subject to mandatory statutory fees, probate fees, and legal expenses.
Even if the real estate is owned outright with a clear title, heirs might end up having to sell the property to cover costs associated with settling probate. If the property is transferred to a revocable trust, heirs will avoid probate costs and can assume ownership when the trust is reconciled.
Revocable trusts certainly make things easier for heirs upon death, but also offer benefits while still living. Individuals can include durable power of attorney and healthcare proxies to designate a Trustee who can handle matters in the event of emergencies.
Power of attorney forms can be used to authorize a person to manage personal finances, oversee investment accounts, or take control of owned businesses. These documents are vital for entrepreneurs and small business owners who operate as sole proprietors.
Home based businesses and one person entities can fall apart rapidly if owners aren’t there to tend to daily operations. Setting up a durable POA to name a business successor can save companies from going under. Click here to learn more about the different types and uses of power of attorney forms.
Healthcare proxies, aka medical power of attorney, names an agent to make medical decisions in the event a person is deemed incapacitated by a physician. Individuals can describe procedures or treatments they don’t want, such as artificial nutrition or life support.
Combined, these documents provide important directives regarding every aspect of life and death. Organizing an estate planning portfolio lessens burdens for heirs during difficult times and offers protection if a person becomes incapacitated.
Most people find it beneficial to work with estate planning lawyers instead of going it alone. Every person has unique circumstances and lawyers can ensure proper methods are used to provide sufficient protection.
At Craton and Switzer, we specialize in developing unique estate planning portfolios to protect client assets throughout their lifetime and beyond. We work closely with clients to ensure they capitalize on strategies most appropriate for their lifestyle.
Our goal is to take the confusion and stress out of estate planning. If you’d like to learn more about probate, revocable trusts, last wills, child trust fund, family trusts, and business succession click here to continue reading our blog. Or, give us a call at 562-628-5533 if you are in need of California estate planning lawyers.