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The Probate Guy Trusted. Recommended. Successful.
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Whittier Trust Lawyer

A trust helps families avoid the high costs of probate. These costs are more than financial. There are also emotional and privacy costs to consider. Probate litigation is very time-consuming and, in most cases, it drags up issues from the past which most people would rather not address. Furthermore, probate, even if there is no litigation involved, is public. Every item in the estate becomes part of a permanent public record. This scrutiny comes at a time when most people would prefer to keep things private.

The dedicated Whittier trust lawyers at The Probate Guy always look to find long-lasting, cost-effective solutions to the privacy, efficiency, monetary, and other issues that SoCal families face. All our meetings with clients are completely confidential. So, there is a full exchange of information. Furthermore, since many trusts are rather complex instruments, we streamline the process as much as possible.

Basic Elements of a Trust

The settlor, who is also known as the grantor or trustor, is the person who creates a trust. Essentially, a trust transfers legal ownership of money, real estate, or other property from the individual to the trust. The other basic trust parties are the trustee (person who manages the trust) and the beneficiaries. Usually, the settlor and trustee is the same person. Therefore, even though the settlor loses legal control over the corpus (property in the trust), the settlor, as the trustee, retains practical control of trust assets, at least for the most part.

There are basically two kinds of trusts. Inter vivos (living) trusts allow settlors to add or subtract from the corpus during their lifetimes. The corpus of a testamentary trust is fixed at the time it’s made. Either way, the trust is ineffective without property in the corpus. These trusts also have different pros and cons in terms of taxes and other matters. A Whittier trust lawyer can review these things with you.

Types of Trusts in California

Since there are many different types of families in California with many different needs, California law recognizes a number of different trusts, such as:

  • Totten Trust: These nontraditional trusts are also known as PUD (Payable Upon Death) accounts. The settlor places money into a Demand Deposit Account (checking account), certificate of deposit, or other bank account. Then upon that person’s death, the beneficiary may withdraw or otherwise use the money.
  • Spendthrift Trust: Basically, these trusts impose conditions or other limitations on beneficiaries. Many people create spendthrift trusts when their children are young and revoke them when they get older. That’s one of the advantages of a revocable trust. These conditions or limits could be almost anything. One of the most common ones is an income-only limit. The beneficiary may access income from revenue-producing property, but not the property itself.
  • Qualified Domestic Trusts: QDTs give non-citizen spouses the full benefit of the marital estate tax deduction. Usually, spouses pay no taxes on inherited assets. However, these exemptions, which generally have no limit, are only available to U.S. citizens. QDTs close this loophole.

Spendthrift and insurance trusts are very popular as well. Spendthrift trusts limit a beneficiary’s access to the property it contains. Insurance trusts shield life insurance proceeds from taxation.

Reach Out to a Dedicated Orange County Lawyer

Trusts ensure that more of your assets reach the beneficiaries they are intended to help. For a free consultation with an experienced Whittier trust lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Robert L. Cohen. Convenient payment plans are available.

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