After the historical $1.5 billion jackpot was finally won, it is time for many of us to consider how to protect our assets during our lifetime and after. Although winning the lottery may not be something we will experience, many of us do have valuable assets that we would like to protect when we are gone. Therefore, this year it might be time to give your estate plan a review.
An important tool in estate planning to consider is the living trust (also called a revocable living trust). In its simplest form, a living trust is a written agreement which sets forth what happens to your assets in the event of your death. One of the greatest advantages of a living trust is that it protects your estate from the probate process, which can be time consuming and expensive. And while a living trust is primarily used as a convenient and efficient way to distribute your assets upon death, you still maintain control over all your assets during your lifetime. Therefore you can alter, add or revoke the living trust at any time for any reason.
In many situations, a trust is the best way to achieve your goals. With a trust you can:
- Avoid probate
- Provide for your care should you no longer be able to handle your own affairs
- Provide for children from a previous marriage
- Hold money for minors and ensure they cannot spend it all the minute they come of age
- Protect assets from creditors and former spouses
- Benefit family and charity through one mean
Probate, on the other hand, is the process the court utilizes to manage the affairs of a decedent’s estate. In contrast to a living trust, the probate process, in most metropolitan areas in California, can take about 6- 18 months. This delay creates additional expenses that can consume 3% to 6% or more of the gross value of the probate estate.
At Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, our estate planning attorneys don’t believe in offering services that are “one size fits all.” We understand that each family has particular needs and concerns, and we can customize our estate planning services to meet these specific needs and ensure that your long term wishes are carried out. If you are interested in nonprobate transfers or have any questions regarding your current estate plan, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri for further information. The attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have decades of experience handling complex estate planning matters, including nonprobate transfers, and we are happy to offer you a free consultation. 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 detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.