Estate Planning made easy
A revocable trust is a legal entity whereby ownership of your assets are held on your behalf by a trustee during your lifetime and upon your death your assets are disposed of pursuant to the terms of your trust. Revocable trusts are very popular because they avoid the cost, delay and expense of probate. A will is a testamentary instrument that usually requires probate. Probate is a process that involves the court to help distribute assets to your heirs.
Why Choose a Revocable Trust
Privacy is a big concern for families who do not want the public to know the extent of their money and assets and a living trust does not mandate court filing. Transfer of assets without the need for court involvement is another benefit of a revocable trust. Before death you will name a successor trustee who will administer the terms of your trust and wind up your affairs. Ease of distribution is also a factor that is beneficial. If the terms of the trust state, "The farm goes to beneficiary "A", then the trustee simply deeds the farm to "A". With a revocable trust, you can amend your trust to add property, a beneficiary, remove a beneficiary or change certain other terms of your trust. In the event a trustor becomes incapacitated, your trustee can act on your behalf and keep your affairs current until you recover from an illness.
If you have assets that you do not dispose of to a child, spouse, relative or person, you can give your money to a church or other charitable organization.
Sometimes a person may wish to have their dog, cat, horse or other animal cared for until its death. You have the right to put a term in your trust to pay a care provider for your pet.
Probate Avoidance Trust
Probate law requires that a person's estate go through the probate process if their real property is more that $50,000.00 or have personal property greater than $150,000.00. Even if your estate does not meet these amounts a trust is better that a will because a trust doesn't need to be probated. If you have to hire a lawyer to probate a will the cost can be expensive. Whereas a trust can be established with a one time fee.
A Trustor may wish to leave money for a grandchild's college education. A trust is a perfect tool to provide for college, books, tuition and housing expenses. Normally the terms of the trust allow the trustee to pay such expenses as needed so the entire amount of money dedicated to education is not immediately depleted. If money is left over after the child completes school, then it can be distributed outright.
MEDICAL CARE DIRECTIVES
A Medical Care Directive allows you to control your health care while you are incapacitated. It names a person who will follow your wishes and make decisions for you when you can't. We use the California Medical Association form which is universally recognized. In this form you can also donate organs when you die. Failure to secure an advance care directive may lead to circumstances where the treating doctor is control of your health. Unintended results can happen such as being kept alive when you don't want to. In the MCD you can have a DNR- Do Not Resuscitate directive, this will inform the doctor not to keep you alive when your health condition is terminal.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
A durable power of attorney (DPOA) has far reaching consequences. There are two main types of DPOA, one is over your health care and the other is over your financial interest. The health care power allows your agent follow your health care decisions. The financial power of attorney allows your agent to manage your financial affairs when you cannot. This includes paying bills, maintaining accounts etc. These powers only become effective upon your incapacity determined by physician in most cases. DPOAs can be far reaching and cover many different issues or they can handle one single issue. When people get old, it is sometimes necessary to grant authority to another person simply to eliminate the pressure of having to deal with paying bills or handling certain affairs.