Protect Your Assets Now And In The Future With A Trust

A common misconception that many people have is that they think they have completed the estate planning process if they have drafted a last will and testament. While having a will is important, it does not exempt your estate from the probate process, which can be lengthy and makes your choices in distributing assets a matter of public record. This especially true in California, where probate laws require longer delays and higher costs than most other states.

One tool that the attorneys at The Dayton Law Firm, P.C., use frequently to avoid probate is some form of legal trust. Trusts simplify the estate administration process and will make it easier for your heirs to access your property after you pass away.

The Top 4 Benefits Of Trusts

There are many types of trusts. Examples include the standard revocable family/living trust, specialized revocable and irrevocable trusts, asset protection trusts, special needs trusts and charitable trusts. Most trusts share several significant benefits for individuals and families who employ them in their estate planning:

  1. A trust is private. It is considered a legal contract and is not a public document like a will is after the maker's death.
  2. A trust can help you avoid probate. Probate is a lengthy, court-directed, public process (it can take more than two years in some cases). Properly created trusts are exempt from probate.
  3. A trust can save you money. Trusts typically cost more initially for a lawyer to set up for you, but your family will avoid paying probate and other fees after you pass away. Probate is costly, with mandated court, attorney and executor fees based on the size of the estate (over $14,000 total for $200,000 worth of property, which goes up from there).
  4. A trust can proactively address issues of incapacity. In a trust, the successor trustee that you designate can manage the assets inside your trust if you become incapacitated before death.

Does Everyone Need A Trust?

Despite the benefits, not everyone needs a trust. In California, unmarried individuals without children whose total estate is worth less than $150,000 and who own no real property may need something less complex for their estate plan. For example, just a will, appropriate powers of attorney, medical documents and designating IRA accounts can work for some. Our attorneys can help you make as simple or detailed of a plan as you want, and then we will use our custom software to create estate solutions that are right for you and your family.

Trust Us With Your Estate Planning Questions

We can advise you about trusts and other planning documents that can protect your legacy. Our firm is located in San Jose and serves the entire Bay Area. We also serve clients throughout California. Call us today at 408-758-5750 or email us to schedule a free introductory appointment.