If you are considering including a revocable living trust as a portion of your established estate plan, it is important that you recognize the common advantages of including a trust. While doing research you may come across a wealth of information and it may seem a bit overwhelming so here are some typical advantages to revocable living trusts in California

The Benefits of Having a Revocable Living Trust Prepared

  1. To Avoid Probate: This is perhaps the greatest potential benefit of when it comes to utilizing a revocable living trust. With a revocable living trust, you can usually avoid putting your property as well as your loved ones through the restraining rules and procedures of a California probate. The California Probate process can take time as well as require appearances, third party costs and more. In the event that you own property in more than one state, your loved ones could face a multitude of probate proceedings in each and every state property is owned. Further, a revocable living trust will give your loved ones a virtually instant access to monetary funds and the ability to transfer gifts during the difficult time. With a living trust in California, real estate and other gifts can typically be transferred when a death certificate is issued with some relatively simple documents prepared by a Legal Document Assistant. These often include affidavits and real property deeds.
  2. To Avoid Conservatorship: This is a benefit of including a revocable living trust that often goes unnoticed. Once the trust provisions have been followed and your incapacity has been determined, your loved ones will have the ability to control your trust assets without the intervention of a judge. This is with a power of attorney and advance healthcare directive (medical power of attorney), typically included with living trust packages. These documents are where a person designates an agent (person in charge) who will step in on their behalf in the event they are incapacitated. This could be temporary like after a car accident and during medical procedures, or more permanent such in Alzheimer’s and dementia. In California, without these documents being prepared in advance, someone would have to petition the court for a conservatorship. This is where the Judge would authorize someone to act. The conservatorship process can be months long, have thousands of dollars in costs as well as require follow ups and additional filings with the court indefinitely. Having power of attorney and advance healthcare documents in place can avoid all this.
  3. Maintain the Proceeding Private: Many states’ probate filings are open to the public. This is no different in California. Anyone with an interest in the matter can go into a California probate courthouse and retain information about any probate documents they are interested in, which will include your documents and personal information. In many of the 58 California counties this information is even available online for instant access. Often, interested parties can make copies or retain other facts about a specific document, without having any special permission to look over the documents. Upon initiation of probate filings, it is not uncommon for attorneys, real estate agents and other companies to use that information to solicit the administrator for services. This can be burdensome when trying to move through a difficult transition.  Living trusts can often be kept private so your personal information as well as your wishes stays with you. The common documents that would be public record would be transfers of real property, but by nature in California those are all already in the public domain.
  4. Know Your Assets: When you complete a revocable living trust as part of your estate plan, you will be forced to become organized. You will be required to find home titles, certificates and other important documents for the revocable living trust that will help you not only for the creation of your living trust, but will also help you know and keep a clear record of your assets. This typically ensures that the named successors do not have a difficult time in facilitating or administering the trust. Keeping all these important documents along with your wishes in one place not only benefits your loved ones later, it makes it easy for you to know exactly the status of your estate planning and makes it simple for to keep it current and update should you need to .

Living Trust Preparation in California

One large misconception with living trusts in California is that they have to be completed by an attorney. This is simply untrue. Living trusts in California are commonly used for similar purposes by all types of people…to avoid probate court and keep things simple for loved ones. The documents in living trust packages in California are typically uniform no matter where you have them prepared. In California, Legal Document Assistants are authorized to prepare living trust packages for people as well as facilitate the execution (notary and witnessing) and even the appropriate funding process (property deed preparation). Because Legal Document Assistants just complete the preparation they are often a fraction of the cost of living trust packages elsewhere. If you are considering a living trust in California, you may also want to consider having a Legal Document Assistant helping you out. You can learn more about the Living Trust Service Just Document Preparation provides here: Living Trust Service.