THE BASICS OF REVOCABLE (LIVING) TRUSTS IN CALIFORNIA
A revocable or living trust in California is a separate entity that is created by you in a trust document. The trust document will contain many provisions which will state how the trust is to be operated and how your property is to be eventually distributed. If you desire to establish a trust, my strong advice is to contact an attorney. You can amend or change the provisions of your living trust as long as you follow the instructions in your living trust which state how to do so. The CEO of the living trust is the trustee. Generally, you will be the initial trustee of your living trust and you will name successor trustees who will take over after you. Once you create the trust document, you will transfer your assets to yourself as the initial trustee of the trust. However, your life will not change, you will still control your assets, and you do not need to file a separate tax return for your living trust. Any assets that you transfer to the trust can be taken out at any time during your lifetime by following the provisions of your trust. Since the assets are owned by the trust and not by you, the assets can be transferred to your beneficiaries without the need for the probate process. Since there is no probate, there is no public record. The distribution of your property can be handled by your attorney in his or her office. The advantages of a living trust are that there is no probate and your property can be distributed much sooner; the attorney fees for distributing your assets is generally much lower than the attorney fees for probate; and there is no public record. The disadvantages of a living trust are the greater initial cost of creating and setting up your living trust; and your need to make sure that all your assets are transferred into the living trust. The information in this article does not constitute nor is it intended to constitute legal advice.
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Richard D. Freiman, Attorney at Law, (310) 917-1021
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