Many Californians fail to realize that a valid trust is created only if there is trust property. It is, therefore, very important to expressly transfer some piece of property, real or personal to the trust when making estate plans.
Whether property is part of the estate (to be administered by the probate court) or part of a valid trust (to be administered by the trustee) is reserved for the court. While written declarations and general assignments may be effective in transferring property to the trust and avoiding probate, this is not a risk that should be taken. A court must consider each case on its merits and this process typically ties family assets up in litigation, delays administration of the trust, and results in substantial attorney and court fees. An estate plan, designed to ensure that family and financial goals are met, can suddenly become a nightmarish burden on grieving loved ones.
Consulting an experienced estate planning attorney when planning for the future will ensure a trust is properly funded and timely administered. If you are interested in learning more about individual estate planning or creating a comprehensive plan so your family members are well-prepared to handle your estate, contact the San Jose estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, LLP. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.