Understanding the Benefits of a Living Trust

In recent years, the living trust has become an increasingly popular estate planning tool for San Diego families. But what exactly is this product? And what benefits can it offer you and your loved ones?

What is a Living Trust?

A living (or revocable) trust is a legal tool that holds the creator’s assets in a trust for their benefit throughout their lifetime. Once they die, the assets held in the trust transfer to their designated beneficiaries.

Because of the revocable nature of the trust, creators may alter the terms or cancel it at any time – without needing to provide any advance warning to the beneficiaries.

What Benefits Do Living Trusts Offer

As any experienced California estate planning attorney can attest, a living trust offers tons of benefits that make life a little bit easier for the creator and their loved ones, such as:

Avoiding Probate

When a San Diego resident passes away without creating an estate plan, their family must typically go through probate to take possession of their assets. This process can take years and cause beneficiaries to incur a lot of unnecessary legal expenses.

When an individual has a living trust in place, beneficiaries do not need to go through this burdensome process. Instead, the successor trustee may distribute the assets to them in a matter of weeks.

Protecting Privacy

Many Californians do not want the details of their estate plans to become public knowledge. Unfortunately, they do not always get the privacy they want.

Wills are public documents – which means they are available for anyone to view. The results of probate also become part of the public record.

Living trusts do not have this issue. They are private documents. The only people who know about the details of the trust are its creator, the trustee, the beneficiaries, and the San Diego estate planning lawyer that drafted it on behalf of the creator.

Reducing Taxes

Without prior planning, it is not uncommon for beneficiaries to incur taxes when they inherit assets from a loved one. Depending on the value of the property, the federal government has the authority to levy estate taxes of up to 40 percent. For some San Diego families, these charges can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A living trust may help California residents decrease these taxes or avoid them altogether by giving them the ability to combine their deductions or grant usage rights without transferring ownership of a piece of property.

Your Knowledgeable San Diego Family Lawyer

Do you want to learn more about the benefits of living trusts? Perhaps you would like to have an experienced California estate planning attorney help you through the process of setting one up? In either case, you have come to the right place. The team at the Semanchik Law Group will be happy to provide you with the assistance you seek. To get started, all you need to do is give us a call at (619) 535-1811 or send us a message online.