Palm Springs Living Trusts Attorney

One of the most important goals of estate planning is to ensure that your assets end up where you want them to end up after you pass away. Many Palm Springs estate planners are choosing to use living trusts as part of a comprehensive estate plan. If you have assets that you would like to pass to others without having to go through a stressful probate court process, creating a living trust could be an effective way to implement your estate planning goals.

Attorney Christopher Heritage has extensive experience helping Palm Springs area clients create comprehensive estate plans that meet their needs and goals. He can help you understand the potential benefits and disadvantages of different types of living trusts so you can make informed decisions. If you are interested in avoiding the probate process and protecting your assets through a living trust, contact Heritage Legal, PC, to schedule an initial consultation.

What Is a Living Trust?

Also called an “inter vivos” trust, a living trust is a trust you create during your lifetime rather than one created after your death. A living trust is a legal arrangement in which one or more trustees manage the assets moved into the trust for the benefit of another person, called the beneficiary. The goal of creating living trusts is often to set up long-term property management, reduce estate taxes, or help your loved ones avoid the probate process.

After the trust creator passes away, the assets in the living trust will pass to the people or organizations they have chosen as beneficiaries. The successor trustee will be in charge of paying taxes and debts, then distributing the assets to the named beneficiaries. 

Avoiding the Probate Process with a Living Trust

A living trust sets forth your exact wishes regarding your assets and designates the beneficiary or beneficiaries you want to receive your assets after you pass away. Living trusts bypass the time-consuming and costly process of going through the probate process. If you create a last will and testament, your will becomes effective only after you die. Your beneficiaries cannot access the assets you’ve willed to them until the probate process is completed. When you create a living trust, you can ensure your loved ones have access to the assets you transferred into a living trust immediately after your death without having to go to court.

Revocable Living Trusts

There are two main types of living wills: revocable and irrevocable. With a revocable living trust, you will transfer assets into the trust's ownership. You can retain control of these assets during your lifetime by designating yourself as a trustee of the revocable living trust. As a result, you have the authority to change or revoke the trust at any time. With a revocable living trust, your beneficiaries will be allowed to avoid the probate process. Revocable living trusts are the most well-used type of trust among estate planners because it allows them to retain control over their assets during their lifetime.

Irrevocable Living Trusts

Establishing an irrevocable trust allows you to relinquish your assets permanently during your lifetime. Once you have created the irrevocable trust and transferred assets into it, you will relinquish all interest and control in the assets owned by the trust. The assets transferred into the trust are no longer considered part of your estate. 

Estate planners frequently use irrevocable trusts for the asset protection benefits they provide. When you transfer assets into an irrevocable trust, you no longer own those assets. As a result, the value of the assets will not be included in your taxable estate, potentially reducing estate tax liability. Irrevocable trusts provide protection against creditors and liability that revocable trusts do not.

Will I Lose Control of My Assets After Transferring Them into a Living Trust?

If you would like to retain control over the assets in your living trust, you will benefit from creating a revocable living trust. With a revocable living trust, you will have control over your assets until you pass away. As long as you are still competent, you can change or terminate your living trust at any time. You will need to appoint yourself as the trustee for the duration of your life to retain control over your assets.

If you lack the financial knowledge or organization, or you lead a busy life, you may benefit from appointing another trustee. Some estate planners appoint a professional trust management company or an attorney as their co-trustee. 

The Benefits of Working with an Experienced Living Trust Attorney

As living trusts have gained popularity among estate planners, so have websites that create living trust agreements for clients for an affordable fee. Unfortunately, mass-produced living trust documents are usually boilerplate documents created by a computer software program, not an attorney. Boilerplate living trust agreements can cause significant issues for estate planners when not drafted carefully and under state law. Crucial provisions may be left out of software-generated living trusts. 

When you work with attorney Christopher Heritage, he will carefully review your needs, goals, and financial situation to create a comprehensive estate plan. Attorney Christopher Heritage can help you use your living trust as part of a complete estate planning strategy that includes asset protection and long-term care strategies.

Contact a Skilled Palm Springs Estate Planning Attorney

If you consider using a living trust to protect your assets and avoid the probate court, attorney Christopher Heritage is here to help. He will help you understand the benefits and potential downsides of creating a living trust. Mr. Heritage has an in-depth understanding of California estate planning laws and will work with you to properly draft a living trust that meets your needs and goals. Contact Heritage Legal, PC to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about our living trust services. 

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