Setting up a trust is advantageous not only for you and your loved ones in many ways. A revocable legal document, from the name itself, can be amended throughout the remainder of your lifetime, allowing you to have more control over trust assets. Income from the trust property, although taxable, remains yours and none is transferred to your living trust beneficiary until you pass away. An experienced Calabasas estate planning attorney can explain these in great detail. Additionally, the privacy of the grantor and any beneficiary of a trust can better be protected, as in the case below.
Estate Planning Documents and the Legacy of Chadwick Boseman
After a four-year struggle with colon cancer, Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman died at the age of forty-three, leaving the world in shock. Although he learned of the disease as early as 2016, he kept it a secret and continued to play the role of numerous characters, including Marvel Comics’ Black Panther. Boseman became a household name in 2018 when the worldwide gross of Black Panther reached $1.3 billion. Aside from this, he also played the role of numerous African-American such as Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, and James Brown. Given his influence, the world was shocked with his untimely death, and with how he kept his illness a secret.
After death, it became more apparent that Boseman preferred to keep private matters related to his personal life. He valued privacy and did not speak about his cancer even if the drastic changes in the way he looked were being ridiculed. Because of this, some were surprised to learn that he did not make a will.
Taylor Simone Ledward, his surviving spouse, started going through the probate, a process on his estate’s behalf. This means that the probate court will decide what happens to the estate assets (money, bank account, real property, personal property) of the deceased person. Boseman’s net worth was estimated to be $12 million, but the probate estate presented amounted only to $939,000. This led some people to believe that most of his estate is in private trust accounts that cannot be probated and are not public information. Boseman’s case shows that a good estate plan can help make sure that your wishes are carried out as you intend to, without the need for the whole world to know. A reliable Calabasas estate planning attorney can tell you further what this means.
Setting up a Revocable Trust
Proceeding to set up a revocable living trust begins by appointing a specific trustee (a loved one, a bank, a trusted company) who will be managing and administering property in trust, both during your lifetime and when you die. Revocable trusts are useful in avoiding probate costs associated with wills. Because trust estate is ‘owned by the trust and not by grantors (the decedent), the process of transferring these properties need not be brought to court.
Under relevant trust law, a living trust you create may be revoked or amended, at your discretion, essentially anytime during your lifetime. As would be explained to you by a reliable Calabasas estate planning attorney, this estate planning tool is generally flexible and changeable. When you set up a trust, whatever wealth you have accumulated can continuously grow for several generations. Additionally, when it comes to minimizing estate taxes, specific provisions in trust documents can help reduce what is taxed for estates that exceed estate tax exclusions.
A person who creates a trust can decide on guardianship while he or she is still alive, work on naming another individual who will make decisions once he or she becomes disabled or incapacitated, and make sure that a trustee who could manage financial affairs (without having to obtain a durable power of attorney) is duly appointed. Drafting a standard last will and testament could lead to disputes among heirs you appoint. A family member, for instance, could try to question your testamentary capacity, which will not happen when you create a trust.
For questions on a revocable or irrevocable living trust, the different types of trusts, or asset protection in the context of these, consult with a professional from a reliable law firm. Call our Calabasas estate planning attorney at Moschetti Law Group and consult with a competent estate planning attorney.