Frequently Asked Questions About Trusts
Answers from an Orange County Trust Attorney
Below are questions we frequently receive concerning
trusts. The answers are for general information and not intended as legal advice.
For answers to any further questions, it is advised that you
contact the Orange County trust lawyer at our firm.
What is a revocable living trust?
This is a trust in which you retain the right to control the funds during
your lifetime. You set yourself up as the original trustee and name a
secondary trustee to take over in case of your incapacity. If you become
incapacitated, your secondary trustee can gain access to your funds and
take care of you and your family. When you die the secondary trustee continues
to run the trust and disposes of the money as you directed in your trust
document. This allows for
avoidance of probate and provision of your family's needs without interruption.
What are the benefits of an irrevocable trust?
Here you put your assets in a trust and name another as the trustee such
as a bank. You give instructions to the trustee to provide for you and
your family's needs as you wish. The advantage is that the funds are
no longer technically yours. This means the funds are safe from execution
if you are sued. You can also lower your total assets to qualify for Veterans
benefits immediately or Medicaid benefits after five years. Finally, as
the money is not part of your estate, it allows for avoidance of
probate and is immune from
How best can I provide for a mentally incompetent child?
You set up a
special needs trust. You put the money in a trust with a bank or responsible person as trustee.
The trustee is authorized to look out for the incompetent dependent's
needs. This is better than giving the money directly to the child as the
child would then be ineligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
It is better than giving the money directly to a relative because the
relative could not be forced to spend the money on the child or might
lose it to creditors in lawsuits or pass it to others at death.
What are my responsibilities as the trustee of an estate?
When someone is named the trustee of an estate, the deceased owner of the
estate has given up the responsibility of managing their own assets and
property to the appointed trustee. In doing so, it means that the
trustee is legally bound to properly execute the wishes of the deceased through
the guidelines that have been set out through a will—including any
instructions on how the beneficiaries are to be included. If you have
been named the trustee of an estate, it is a big responsibility. For this
reason, you should not wait to consult an experienced attorney.
What are the benefits of making a trust?
A trust not only allows certain provisions for your property, but also
helps you maximize your assets' worth for your heirs. A properly created
trust can allow you to avoid the probate court, dispensing with expensive
fees and a lengthy court process. This will allow your beneficiaries to
receive more of your assets, instead of going to the courts. Another benefit
to trusts is that you can specify how your money is to be used by your
heirs. Those who cannot responsibly handle your property will not have
access to them unless they use it for a specific purpose or until they
come of age.
If you want to avoid disputes, then a trust can help because of the time
and effort involved in pursuing a claim. To contest your trust, persons
have to go through the civil court, not the probate court. This can take
months and costs much more than contesting a will. When you create a trust,
you will also have more privacy than when you have a will, as trusts are
not open for public record as wills are. Find out how a trust can benefit
your situation by asking an
estate planning lawyer at our firm.
Do I need to make a trust?
Trusts are not only for the privileged and wealthy. Many people can get
benefits from their own trust. If you are in any of the following situations,
you should greatly consider making a trust:
- Own a business or real estate
- Need to provide for a person with special needs
- Want protection from creditors
- Want to leave stipulations for your money
- Want to avoid probate court
- Want to give assets to your children before spouse's death
Talk to an estate planning lawyer from the firm if any of these circumstances
applies to you. A trust could help ensure that your assets are properly
used in the event that you become unable to dictate how they should be used.
Still have questions?
If you still have questions about trusts that have been left unanswered,
we urge you to contact an Orange County estate planning attorney from
our firm today. By taking the time to speak to a legal professional, you
may be able to avoid the hassle of being unprepared later. Creating a
trust can lead to the avoidance of probate in the future, so do not hesitate
to explore all of these important options now. Schedule a
free case evaluation today to see how P. Arnsen Blakely can help you.