A living trust (also called a revocable living trust) is an important Estate Planning tool serving a variety of needs. While a revocable trust serves useful property management functions during your lifetime, it is primarily used as a convenient and efficient way to distribute your assets upon death. Perhaps the most important benefit is protecting your estate from the probate process, which can be time consuming and expensive.
In most metropolitan areas in California it takes a relatively uncomplicated estate 6 to 18 months to move through the probate process. All of this delay creates additional expense. California probate proceedings typically consume 3% to 6% or more of the gross value of the probate estate. A living trust can be settled in a matter of weeks at a fraction of the cost.
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. During your lifetime, you maintain complete control over all assets in your living trust. You also have the power to alter, add to or even revoke the living trust at any time for any reason.
In addition to the advantage of avoiding probate, living trusts provide additional benefits. Living trusts allow a trusted family member, friend or advisor to manage trust property if the settlers are incapacitated. In addition, if a trust holds out of state property, there will be no need to open another probate proceeding in the state where the property is located. Finally, a living trust is usually more difficult to contest than a will.
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. We invite you to visit our office in San Jose for a free, no obligation consultation.