Trusts Attorney in Rocklin, California

Every adult should have a last will and testament, but for many people, a will is simply not enough. Placing assets in a trust — including bank accounts, real property, stocks, bonds, other investments, or a business — may provide a better way to pass on those assets after your death.

It stands to reason that the more assets you have, the more complicated your estate plan may be. Nonetheless, even someone with few assets can face challenges when creating a trust that complies with California law. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney is a wise decision. Your attorney can answer your questions, help you explore your options, and craft a comprehensive plan that satisfies your specific needs.

Whether you're wanting to know more about living trusts or looking to update a pre-existing revocable trust, the Law Office of Geoffrey Fong is here to help.

Attorney Geoffrey Fong guides clients in Rocklin, California, and the surrounding areas of Roseville, Folsom, and Citrus Heights, in crafting trusts and other estate planning documents to ensure their wishes will be carried out after they are gone. If you are in need of legal assistance as you prepare for the future, reach out to schedule a free consultation.

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Types of Trusts Recognized in California

A trust is a legal agreement between three parties, including you as the “settlor” (the maker of the trust), the “trustee” who manages the trust and its assets, and the “beneficiaries” of the trust. Typically, the settlor serves as the trustee until their death or incapacitation, at which time the successor trustee — named in the trust document by the settlor — assumes that role.

While all trusts involve the management of the settlor’s assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries, here are a few types of trusts that serve unique purposes:

  1. Revocable Trusts can be revised from the time they are created until the settlor dies and pass the assets to the beneficiaries upon death.

  2. Irrevocable Trusts cannot be changed once they are created and require the settlor to relinquish ownership of all trust assets. This type of trust typically offers greater tax advantages to the settlor and the trust’s beneficiaries.

  3. Asset Protection Trusts shield assets by dividing the legal and beneficial interests of those assets. The trustee has a legal interest in the assets but does not benefit from them. The beneficiaries of the trust hold beneficial interests. This keeps creditors from seizing trust assets to fulfill payment of a lawsuit judgment.

  4. Charitable Trusts are irrevocable trusts established for the benefit of one or more charities while providing an agreed-to income for the settlor until the settlor dies. The nonprofit beneficiary avoids taxes due to its tax-exempt status, for example, on the sale of real property in the trust. Settlors avoid taxes because they are not beneficiaries of the trust.

  5. Special Needs Trusts allow a beneficiary to retain income-based public assistance by not providing the beneficiary legal interest to the assets. A first-party special needs trust, for example, could be established using proceeds from a personal injury settlement. The sum would preclude the beneficiary from maintaining public assistance eligibility if the settlement proceeds were not placed in a trust. A third-party trust maintains such a beneficiary’s eligibility upon the death of the settlor.

Your attorney will guide you through the following key steps to create your trust:

  • Deciding which type of trust achieves your goals.

  • Choosing which assets to place in the trust.

  • Selecting the beneficiaries of the trust.

  • Naming a successor trustee.

  • Crafting the trust document and fully executing it.

  • Transferring all relevant assets into the trust.

Four Key Benefits of a Trust

A trust offers unique benefits, including:

  • It allows you to bypass probate. A trust, unlike a will, is not subject to probate. This allows you to avoid the expensive, complicated, and protracted probate process in California. A trust doesn’t need to be filed with the court and requires no public notice.

  • It holds your assets in the trust until a date determined by you. The assets held in the trust don’t need to be distributed as soon as possible upon death, as is the case with a will in probate. You could, for example, have the proceeds held in the trust and managed by the trustee until a minor beneficiary reaches adulthood or another time at which you believe a beneficiary will be able to make sound financial decisions.

  • It provides protection for your estate should you become mentally incapacitated. Should you become unable to manage your trust, the successor trustee would assume those responsibilities of managing the assets but also ensuring the trust takes care of your needs as well.

  • The terms remain private and confidential. Because trusts are not filed in court, the assets and terms of the trust never become public record. Not only does it protect your privacy as the settlor, but the privacy of your beneficiaries as well.

Rely on a Skilled Estate Planning Attorney

A trust that is carefully crafted by an experienced California estate planning attorney can be a critical part of an estate plan. The potential tax benefits and the shelter from public scrutiny make trusts an ideal tool for many people.

At the end of the day, an estate plan is all about family, friends, and organizations close to your heart. A trust may be the best way for you to make sure you continue to receive support in life while distributing a life’s worth of assets as you wish after your death.

If you are ready to talk about estate planning options, including trusts, don’t delay. Having your estate plan in place can provide you and your family peace of mind.

Trusts Attorney Serving
Rocklin, California

If you live in Rocklin, California, or in the surrounding communities like Roseville, Folsom, or Citrus Heights, call the Law Office of Geoffrey Fong today to schedule a free consultation. Every client’s needs and wishes are different. Attorney Geoffrey Fong is ready to help you decide which trust is best for you and will do everything he can to meet your unique needs.