What is a Living Trust?
In a nutshell, a Living Trust is a document you create to hold title to your property during your life. In that document you specify how you want your property to be handled during your life, and how it is to be distributed after your death. In most cases you initially serve as your own trustee and have complete control over the Trust. During your life you can amend, or modify it in any manner you choose. You can terminate it if you decide you don't want it anymore.
A Trust can provide for outright distribution to your selected beneficiaries on your death or can continue to hold your property in Trust for the beneficiaries on terms and conditions you decide. For example, if you feel your beneficiaries might be too young to handle the assets themselves or are otherwise incapacitated, you can provide for a successor trustee to manage the assets and distribute them in periodic disbursements or at a later time.
Does everybody need a Living Trust?
At a minimum, almost everybody should have at least a simple Will. Not everybody needs a Living Trust, but just about everybody should talk to a knowledgeable lawyer to see whether a Living Trust is a good idea for them.
Do I need a Living Trust?
You don't have to have a Trust, but there can be a number of advantages to having one. If properly set up you will most likely avoid probate and its expense. It frequently also allows the transfer of property in a shorter period of time than probate. In certain cases there are potential tax benefits to having a Trust.
The information set forth above is intended as a general summary of the most common situations incurred. There are many other circumstances which can create other situations providing other requirements and/or remedies, not all of which are addressed herein. Because of space limitations it is impossible to cover every contingency. You should consult a knowledgeable attorney for specific information related to your case.
William J. Sweeney
Attorney at Law
Telephone: (916) 786-2011
915 Highland Pointe Dr. Ste. 250
Roseville, CA 95678
333 University Dr., Ste. 200
Sacramento, CA 95825
Elk Grove office:
9245 Laguna Springs Dr., Ste. 200
Elk Grove, CA 95758