While a last will and testament is arguably the most widely known estate planning tool, there are other ways to transfer or distribute the estate assets of a deceased person. While drafting wills is useful for naming heirs and transferring or distributing inheritance (to a surviving spouse and family members), there are other estate planning documents that you should consider.

A competent Calabasas estate planning attorney can explain to you what a revocable living trust is. Revocable trusts, as the name suggests, can be amended or revoked virtually any time during the remainder of your lifetime.

When you set up a trust, you appoint a trustee who will be managing, investing, and administering assets in a trust account. Under relevant trust law, this applies both during your lifetime and when you die. The trustee in a trust you set up can be a loved one or a corporate trustee. Under pertinent trust rules, grantors themselves can administer the estate plan and be appointed as initial trustees.

The trustee and the beneficiary of the trust

After setting up a trust, estate assets are placed in the name of the trust. This means that any bank account, investment, real property, or personal property held in trust is, in essence, owned by the trust.

Whether a loved one or a professional, the trustee of a revocable trust has the fiduciary duty to manage, invest, and distribute property in the trust. As specified in relevant trust law, all actions must be in the interest of the beneficiaries of the trust.

If you are the initial trustee and, before you pass away, a time comes when you can no longer make decisions on your own (incapacity), a successor will take over the management and distribution of trust property. He or she can also carry out specific instructions that the decedent was able to include in a trust without court involvement.

Creating a trust, such as a living trust, is advantageous for your children, grandchildren, or any family member that you appoint as a trust beneficiary. Trust documents can help trust beneficiaries with avoiding probate. If a decedent established a trust, assets of the deceased need not be probated and brought to court after death. A reliable Calabasas estate planning attorney can help explain relevant state law for creating a trust.

Why an individual who creates a trust opts for a corporate trustee

An individual who is in declining health, elderly, widowed, or with no children or trusted relatives often choose a corporate trustee. Such is also the case if you and your loved ones (who you would want to simply be a beneficiary of a trust) all do not have the adequate time or ability to manage property in a trust. After all, trust assets and the accompanying income must be handled by someone with the experience and skills.

Due to statutes on estate tax restrictions, certain irrevocable trusts may not permit grantors themselves to be appointed as trustees. In all of these situations, a corporate trustee is necessary when you create a trust. They have the time, skills, and experience to manage your trust account. Corporate trustees charge fees to manage the trust, but these are generally reasonable given their experience and the return of investment from the professional services they provide.

Getting help with these legal documents

Get in touch with an experienced Calabasas estate planning attorney from a law office that specializes in trusts and estates. Trust forms and the different types of trusts can be quite confusing. Get the legal help you need.

For questions on a revocable or irrevocable living trust, credit shelter trust, succession, or probate and estate taxes, contact our law firm. Consult with a trusted Calabasas estate planning attorney at Moschetti Law Group for reliable trust and estate planning services.

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