A Palm Desert trust attorney helps clients establish and maintain trusts so that their assets can pass directly to loved ones after their death with the least amount of interference. Trusts are important for estate planning because they provide a method for giving your assets to beneficiaries without having to worry about a probate process that may occur if you pass away without a precise will.
A trust is a legal agreement that details the terms between the asset owner (grantor), the trusted person who will hold the assets for the owner (trustee), and how the loved ones (beneficiaries) will obtain access and use of the assets held by the trustee, even though they do not own the asset themselves. Though it is possible to change a trust during your lifetime, you need to enlist the help of a trust lawyer to ensure that the trust works according to your wishes.
Types of Trusts That May Be Useful in Estate Planning
At the Law Office of Heath L. Baker, we understand the nuances of estate planning and the California laws that govern how you can establish and maintain trusts. If you search for “trust attorneys near me” in Palm Desert, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, you will find many options for legal advice.
However, Heath Baker takes the time to listen to the details of your family, your desires, your estate assets, then help you choose and build the right trust for your needs.
Below are the best types of trusts for your estate planning efforts. Here are three options you may consider useful for your family.
Trust for Minors
A minor’s trust involves assets that will eventually pass to an heir currently under 18 years old. The heir cannot own the assets directly until they become a legal adult. However, a guardian named in the trust can use the assets for the heir’s benefit until they reach adulthood.
Special Needs Trusts
A special needs trust contains assets meant to support an heir who is unable to care for themselves because of a disability or other condition. Rather than passing directly to the heir upon the grantor’s death, the assets are used to provide the necessary ongoing care to the disabled beneficiary.
Joint trusts are set up by two people, both owning the assets during their lifetimes. When one passes away, the other retains control of the trust until their death, at which time the beneficiaries inherit the remaining assets.
Trusts can be revocable, meaning the grantor can change the trust during their lifetime, and irrevocable, meaning the trust cannot be changed once established. A trust attorney can weigh the details of your estate plans and help you decide whether a revocable or irrevocable trust is best for your needs.
Can Anyone Contest My Trust?
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Yes and no. No, not anyone. But yes, your trust may be contested, just like your will. But the legal system requires an individual to have “legal standing” before they can bring a valid case to court. A Trust can be challenged on several grounds, so it is best to work with an experienced attorney, including lack of mental capacity of the person making the Trust, undue influence, Trust procured by fraud, and other legal grounds violating the Trust’s purpose and terms. There is a time limit the court sets for bringing contests against a trust, called a statute of limitations. Therefore, it is critical to contact a Family Estate Planning attorney if you want to create a plan that is less likely to be contested. The only people permitted to file a lawsuit are those with legal standing, like a beneficiary or heir.
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What Is a Probate?
Probate is the legal process that an estate must go through before assets can transfer from the deceased person to their heirs. Heirs typically need to go through the probate process before receiving their inheritance, even if the estate owner created a will.
In cases with a thorough and uncontested will, the process is routine. It involves an executor (the person named in the will to carry out the deceased person’s wishes) listing and identifying the property and paying all outstanding debts and taxes. Once the court verifies everything, the estate can pass to the heirs as outlined in the will.
If there is no will or if the wishes of the estate owner are unclear, a probate court decides who inherits the estate.
Trusts do not have to go through the probate process, except for testamentary trusts, which the probate court will consider part of the will. With the help of a living trust attorney, you can set up a trust that will allow you to pass assets directly to your loved ones without the need for a probate process.
Why Should You Avoid Probate Court?
Even in routine cases, the probate process can take up to one year. If there are challenges, it could take even longer. The wait and the possibility of challenges and arguments with the family are reason enough to hire a will and trust lawyer to help you set up a living trust.
What Is a Living Trust?
Before you rush to search for a “living trust attorney near me,” you should understand the details of living trusts.
Living trusts are the most popular option for estate planning. They allow the owner of the property (also known as the grantor) to put their assets in the trust while they are alive and continue using them until they pass away. After their death, the assets remain in the ownership of the trust, the named trustee is obligated to make the property available to the beneficiaries for their use and enjoyment until the instructions of the trust distribute all remaining assets and dissolve the trust.
How Do I Create a Living Trust?
You can create a living trust in California with the following steps:
- Choose which assets to include in the trust.
- Select someone to serve as the trustee, who manages the assets while they are held in the trust and is responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out after your death.
- Decide who the beneficiaries are and what portion of the assets they will get.
- Create a document that outlines the rules for the trust.
- Legalize the trust by signing it in front of a notary public.
- Change the deeds or titles of any property held in the trust so that they can change ownership when needed.
You might wonder, “do I need to find a trust lawyer near me?” Here is when you will want to enlist the help of a lawyer.
Do I Need a Trust Lawyer to Create a Living Trust?
Technically, you do not need a living trust lawyer to establish a trust in California. However, remember that a trust document is legally binding. You will probably want the advice of a lawyer when drafting the document to ensure it actually reflects your wishes. This can help you avoid problems later.
Contact Heath Baker Law to Speak With a Palm Desert Trust Attorney Today
How do I find a will and trust attorney near me? If you are in Palm Desert or Riverside, you should seek out an attorney experienced in family law and estate planning. Heath Baker is a trust attorney who understands the nuances of creating estate documents that reflect your wishes while avoiding any grounds for legal challenges after your death.
Contact us today for a consultation to hear how we can help with your estate planning. We have offices in Riverside and Palm Desert.