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Estate Planning

A revocable living trust is an option that not everyone needs, but if it suits your lifestyle, finances, and plans for your estate, it can be an invaluable asset, attorneys at the Evans Law Firm, Inc., a leading Contra Costa estate planning law firm, say. A revocable living trust is good for those who have a significantly large estate, children under the age of 18, or more than one marriage—because these trusts can provide for a large number of possibilities that could crop up in your future.

Revocable Living Trust Advantages

A revocable living trust takes effect immediately after the trust document is signed, and assets have been placed in the trust. The trust agreement will establish a successor who can take over your estate if you become incapacitated through old age, accident, or disease. The advantage of the living trust is that this transfer of control can be made without needing to go through a court conservatorship. Any assets included in the trust will avoid probate, which saves on probate costs. Avoiding probate also eliminates unnecessary publicity and cuts down the timeframe for distribution and resolution after your death. Your living trust can also be set up to provide asset management services for your minor children even after your death.

Additionally, you can structure your trust to reduce or eliminate federal estate taxes that need to be paid after your death. During your lifetime, if you have set up a revocable living trust, and you are the trustee, you do not need a separate tax identification number (TIN) specifically for the trust. You will report your income and deductions on your personal tax return.

A revocable living trust is a legal entity that is separate from the creator or settlor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. Even if you are the settlor, the trustee, and the beneficiary, the trust remains separate from you, because these are three distinct roles to be played in the execution of the trust. While you are alive, you can administer the property of the trust as you choose, and when you die, the Successor trustee will follow your trust declaration to distribute this property to your named beneficiaries.

Trusts and Wills

Because most people use a revocable living trust as the core of their estate plan, Contra Costa estate planning law firms and attorneys recommend that you establish a will as a spill over measure, so that any assets that are not incorporated in the living trust can still be handled according to your wishes after you die.

Your trust can include a comprehensive list of assets and possessions that you own, but if an asset is not held in the name of the trust, the provisions that are set up do not have effect on that asset. These assets that are not included in the trust need to be passed on to a beneficiary or joint tenant after your death, or they should be included in your will. The will does not take effect until after you die, but the trust can be utilized during your lifetime.

At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., a Contra Costa estate planning law firm, our attorneys help clients plan for their future using every available option. Our lawyers are experienced in all areas of elder law, and are only one phone call away. If a revocable living trust is right for you, contact Ingrid Evans at 415.441.8669 or www.evanslaw.com.

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