Santa Cruz Attorneys Help You Establish Your Revocable Trust
California estate planning lawyers facilitate plans for retirement and wealth distribution
You’ve worked hard for the wealth you’ve accumulated, so why not enjoy it? Then, when it’s time to pass your property to your heirs, why not do so in the quickest, most efficient manner? Those goals can be achievable by use of a revocable trust, also called a living trust. At Penrose Chun & Gorman LLP, our estate planning lawyers craft living trusts to meet the specific needs of our clients. If you want to the peace of mind that comes with a secure estate plan, talk to a Santa Cruz revocable trust attorney at our firm.
What is a revocable (living) trust?
A revocable trust is a legal relationship that you create to hold property for the benefit of certain named persons or entities. As the creator (settlor or trustor), you retain the right to cancel the trust (i.e., revoke it) at any time. You can also amend the trust terms whenever you want. You can use a revocable trust to pass wealth on to designated beneficiaries, who can receive it automatically upon your death without any court process. During your lifetime, although the trust owns the property, you can serve as trustee, which means you can use the property to the extent you wish. By contrast, an irrevocable trust cannot be altered and you lose control of the property placed within it.
Advantages and disadvantages of a revocable trust
There are many good reasons to set up a revocable trust, such as:
- Avoiding probate — Probating a complex estate can take several months or longer. A revocable trust typically puts assets in your beneficiaries' hands much more quickly after your passing.
- Protection if you’re incapacitated — If you were to become incapacitated, your assets could be frozen until a conservator is appointed by the court. With a revocable trust, you can name a successor trustee who is automatically empowered to act on behalf of the trust if you are unable to.
- Ability to amend the terms any time — Your life circumstances can easily change. If you need to move assets out of the trust for any reason, you can. In fact, you can amend any terms, such as the beneficiaries, without seeking permission from anyone.
- Privacy — Since there is no court process involved, there is no public record of what is in your trust or how its assets are distributed.
Revocable trust versus a last will and testament
A revocable trust does not eliminate the need for a will, which can direct the distribution of assets not placed in the trust. However, the trust is a useful instrument for bypassing probate and getting assets into the hands of your beneficiaries as quickly as possible. A trust also allows you to place conditions on bequests and to distribute assets over time rather than all at once. But these advantages come at a cost, since a trust is more expensive to set up and manage than a will is to draft and execute. A trust and estates attorney at our firm can explain your specific needs for each instrument.
What is the role of a trustee?
The trustee is a fiduciary whose duty is to manage trust funds and assets responsibly for the good of the beneficiaries. That generally includes prudent investment, accounting, tax filing and disbursement. You can serve as the trustee during your lifetime, but you can also appoint another person or institution to fulfill that role. An appointed trustee is entitled to receive compensation for this service. The amount is usually set based on how much work is required, which in turn depends on the size and the terms of the trust.
Contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney for revocable trusts in Santa Cruz
Estate planning lawyers at Penrose Chun & Gorman LLP help clients in Santa Cruz and vicinity establish revocable trusts. To schedule a consultation, call 831-515-3344 or contact us online.