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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Estate Planning Lawyers in Sacramento Recommend Revocable Living Trusts

August 28, 2015

OK, that title may be a little misleading, as not every estate planning lawyer in Sacramento is going to recommend a revocable living trust for every single client. That said, this particular kind of trust is one that is suggested and discussed a whole lot because of all the things it can do for you and your estate. Most importantly, these trusts protect your assets while you’re living but also help get things in order in case you unexpectedly pass away.

You Have Access to Your Stuff

Sacramento trust lawyers and clients alike appreciate the revocable living trust because it allows for access to money, property, and so on while the owner is living.  All trusts have the same parties involved – a “grantor” who creates the trust and a “trustee” who manages the trust assets on behalf of the “beneficiaries.”  The revocable living trust is special because it allows the creators (“grantor”) to name themselves as “trustees” who are able to direct what happens to the assets of the trust. Money can be spent, property can be sold, investments can be made. There aren’t a whole lot of limitations on what trustees are allowed to do with the contents of the trust, which is true of all trustees, but the fact that you are the trustee of your own trust is what keeps you in control.

What “Revocable” Means

Another reason that revocable living trusts are favored is because the grantor retains the ability to make changes to the trust. In fact, they can even end it altogether if desired, i.e., revoke it. This allows the trust to be especially flexible and to change along with the grantor’s circumstances.  A meeting with a Sacramento trust lawyer is usually all that’s required to modify or terminate the trust.

What Your Assets are Protected From

When an individual passes away without a trust, his or her estate will go through the probate process. This is a totally public process in which assets will be listed for the courts, debts will be made public, your heirs/beneficiaries and their addresses will be made public, and any number of things someone might rather keep private can become public knowledge. Fortunately, assets held in trust are not exposed to this kind of scrutiny. Privacy isn’t the only issue people have with probate, either. It is generally lengthy, expensive, and sometimes ridiculously complicated. Estate planning lawyers know this and regularly recommend the revocable living trust as a way to circumvent the process. In fact, someone owning property in both California and one or more other states can avoid probate in more than one state at the same time by placing all the properties into the revocable living trust.

A revocable living trust is only one of the many tools a Sacramento trust lawyer has at their disposal, but it is undoubtedly an important one that benefits clients during their lifetimes and their heirs upon death. Oh, and the grantor can make stipulations and requests regarding the use of the assets after he or she passes away, too, meaning that there is some continued guidance in how money, property, etc. is managed for the benefit of the heirs.

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