Revocable Trust Attorneys in Southern California
Experienced Attorney Skilled in Creating Revocable Trusts for Clients Throughout Southern California
Trusts can be used to accomplish any number of purposes, from asset protection to charitable giving and even providing for a family member with special needs. While the varieties of trusts can seem endless, all trusts essentially fall into two primary categories: revocable and irrevocable trusts. Revocable trusts are also known as living trusts, because they are created while the trust creator, or “settlor”, is alive and can be changed throughout his or her lifetime. Revocable trusts generally only become irrevocable once the trust creator has died, and the beneficiaries obtain their final interests in the trust. During the life of the trust creator, he or she has the right to amend and restate the trust to make any number of changes, including with respect to:
- The assets that fund the trust,
- The trust beneficiaries,
- The distribution terms, and
- The identity of the trustees.
Although revocable trusts are extremely common, they are also complicated and must be carefully drafted in order to be valid under California law. At the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman, our trust lawyer has nearly four decades’ worth of experience successfully creating revocable trusts for our clients. We understand the complexities and useful variations in the revocable trust structure and are here to provide in-depth legal advice for all of your trust-related needs.
Revocable Trusts Provide Crucial Planning Benefits
Revocable trusts are an important part of any estate plan but can do much more than simply ensure that your assets escape the lengthy and expensive probate administration process. Some of the many benefits of revocable trusts include:
- Asset Control. Once you have placed assets in a revocable trust, you retain the power to remove those assets if circumstances change.
- Beneficiary Control. Revocable trusts are often used to provide for loved ones who have trouble with money management because you can specify the terms of the trust distributions to provide the beneficiary with a steady stream of income. This often becomes useful when the trust beneficiary is a minor for whom you wish to provide support during your lifetime.
- Providing for Yourself. Revocable trusts can be used to provide a steady stream of income to yourself during a period of time when you are disabled or incapacitated. Rather than go through the lengthy and expensive legal process of having a conservator appointed by the courts, your revocable trust can kick in immediately to begin funding your expenses.
- Privacy. Revocable trusts are generally not a matter of public record during your life. This means that the terms and funding mechanisms with respect to the trust remain completely private until your death, when they may then become a matter of public record.
- Probate Avoidance. Probate in the state of California can take years in more complicated cases and can be extremely expensive. Placing assets in a revocable trust means that those assets will pass directly to the trust beneficiaries and will be controlled by the trustee upon your death, bypassing the probate system entirely.
- Ease of Creation. Revocable trusts are relatively easy to create, because they can be changed at will during your life. Despite this, California does impose detailed rules, so speak with an attorney before assuming that your revocable trust is valid.
- Out-of-State Property. Revocable trusts can hold property held in other states. This can allow your beneficiaries to avoid the need for probate administration of those assets in multiple states.
Despite the many benefits offered by the revocable trust structure, it is also important to remember that these trusts do not serve all planning purposes. For example, because you retain control over the trust assets, you will continue to be responsible for income taxes on the trust property. Those assets will also usually be included in valuing your gross estate for estate tax purposes. In some cases, your creditors will be able to reach the trust assets, meaning that revocable trusts are not the best mechanism for asset protection.
Why Choose The Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman to Draft Your Revocable Trust
At the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman, our dedicated trust planning attorney has 38 years’ worth of experience in drafting revocable trusts designed to accomplish your specific planning goals. Revocable trusts are often preferential to irrevocable trusts because they allow you to retain control over the trust terms during your lifetime, and also control the eventual asset disposition after your death.
Contact an Experienced Revocable Trust Planning Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
If you would like to explore the potential benefits of creating a revocable trust, contact the experienced trust planning professionals at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman to discuss your case. You can find our online contact form here. Our office is conveniently located at 8912 Haskell Ave., North Hills, CA 91343.
FAQ: How is a revocable trust formed in Southern California? Several steps must be taken in order to transfer ownership of your assets to a revocable trust. An experienced attorney should be retained to draft the trust document itself, and you should take some time to determine which assets you would like to have retitled in the name of the trust. After the trust document is drafted, it must be signed and notarized, and can be funded in a variety of ways, including using a deed or standard transfer document. California has a specific set of rules that must be followed in order to ensure that the trust is properly formed, so consult with an attorney to ensure your revocable trust is valid.
FAQ: How much does a revocable trust cost to create? Revocable trusts do come with a cost, and that cost is determined based on how complicated the trust is. Additionally, annual trust administration fees may apply. It is, however, important to note that the revocable trusts can help you avoid the expense of probate, which can be substantial depending upon how extensive your estate is.