Living Trusts: What Are They, and Why You Should Have One

If you want to protect your loved ones while you are alive and after you have passed, a living trust is an excellent option. You might know that a trust can help you avoid probate and ensure your wishes are honored after you pass, but you might not know that a trust is not a simple legal structure. 

And while it seems easy enough for your any attorney to just put one in place, the best way to avoid problems and roadblocks is to rely on a professional estate planning firm. They have the requisite knowledge to create a living trust that you can feel confident in.

An estate planning firm like OC Wills & Trusts will help you keep your finances and records in order so you can avoid the pitfalls that others face when they use family attorneys.

Here’s what else you need to know about living trusts so you can feel confident in your decision to work with an estate attorney and secure your children’s future today.

Avoid Probate with a Living Trust

The biggest advantage of a living trust is that your estate won’t go through probate when you die. Typically, in California, probate can take at least a year to complete. And during the process, your financial information becomes public knowledge. This can potentially put your money at risk from fraud.

Furthermore, the probate process is expensive. Your heirs could lose thousands of dollars due to unexpected fees or costs.

Record Keeping on Your Own Is Challenging

Once you create a living trust, you will need to maintain good records of your finances. The good news is that your estate attorney will help you gather and maintain these records to ease your burden and expedite the trust process.

Save Your Loved Ones from Legal Fees

Your goal is to provide for your loved ones after you depart. That doesn’t work if most of your estate is lost to legal fees after you pass away. When you create a living trust, you can pay all of those legal fees in advance. This will ensure that you share the assets you intend.

Prepaid Trust Costs Are Easier to Afford if You Start Early

While it is nice to ensure that your loved ones don’t have to pay taxes on their inheritance or lose it to unexpected legal fees, the cost to prepare an estate plan is an investment.

Most people who create living trusts are on a fixed income. Even if you have a good reserve, legal fees could be quite expensive. You might have to liquidate some assets or adjust your lifestyle to prepay those expenses. If you create your trust while you are in your prime, you should more easily absorb the costs.

Also, keep in mind that the best trust attorneys can find creative ways to mitigate your costs and keep the entire process as affordable as possible.

A Trust Reduces the Chance of a Court Challenge

All too often, people will try to challenge a will by claiming the deceased wasn’t in their right mind when it was written. And if you are dead, you won’t be able to contest them.

The living trust, when funded correctly, will avoid the probate court process. This decreases the likelihood of claims to your estate (since probate court is a public proceeding allowing anyone to come forward to dispute your estate).

Title Transfers Are Complicated — Get the Help You Need

When you create a living trust, you need to transfer all of your assets to the trust. That means you need to find every document, title, or electronic receipt and legally transfer ownership.

But just like every other potential disadvantage of creating a living trust, an experienced and thorough estate attorney can manage this process and reduce your timeline. This means that you can create and fund your trust easily, and eliminate a significant amount of stress in the process.

Create a Living Trust with the Help of Experienced Estate Attorneys

The right estate firm will provide a personalized, thoughtful approach to estate planning that doesn’t just create boilerplate documents. That’s exactly what you can expect from the estate attorneys in Orange County at OC Wills & Trusts.

Our firm provides a high level of care, service, and attention to every client. When you work with us, you’re investing in your future and developing a relationship with a caring team — a partnership for life.

Contact OC Wills & Trusts today to start building that partnership and easing your concerns.

Since joining OC Wills & Trust Attorneys in 2016, Ellie Hsu has guided hundreds of clients in their estate planning matters. She is dedicated to understanding the individual needs and unique objectives of each client, in order to craft customized estate plans that reflect the client’s goals. If you have any questions regarding this article, reach out to Ellie Hsu today.