Articles Posted in Estate Planning

We are often asked why it is important to have an estate plan – What happens if you don’t have one? The answer is simple and it can be brutal. Without a well thought out plan of our own, the government will decide how your estate will be distributed. We hear stories of people that have very specific wishes of where they want their estate to go, including to loved ones and people who they want to benefit from your life’s work; but without a plan, your wishes may be ignored.

If you become sick or incapacitated, someone may petition the Court and ask to be appointed to make decisions that you may not want. You have the absolute right in how your life should be if you become ill or unable to care for yourself, as well as the right to appoint someone of your choosing to make the decisions that you would want to be made. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a plan, the government will make those decisions for you.

It takes time and a lot of questions to learn what is the best for your unique situation. Once our office learns your story, we prepare a unique, customized plan that fits your needs and requirements. These plans may include a revocable living trust and financial powers of attorney. We will prepare health care directives which include HIPPA authorizations so medical providers can give you the care that you need and desire.

No. Certainly not during your lifetime. Generally, trusts and estates are taxed like individuals. In turn, tax principals that apply to individuals will also apply to living trusts. The individual responsible for taxes on income earned by the trusts is the individual who benefits from or receives the income. The liable person for taxes on income received by an estate also depends on how the income is classified. For example, was the income earned by the decedent, the estate or income distributed to the beneficiaries? Any income retained by the trust is taxed to the trust and any distributed income is taxed to the beneficiary.

Find answers to all your living trust questions here:

Most Americans know the importance of forming a legal document to distribute their assets upon their death, but one of the questions we at Travis G Black & Associates get asked often is whether or not a living trust is the right option for them. Below our Folsom estate planning attorney has listed some information to consider when deciding what is best for you.

Consider Your Age

Creating a living trust can be the best option for those over the 55 or 60 years old. As a living trust will not provide anything for you during your life, for most healthy middle-income individuals, creating a living trust is not necessary. For most individuals under 45, a will can suffice in the event you unexpectedly died.

Once you have created your trust, you are tasked with funding it. Funding your trust is the process of transferring your assets into it. By funding your trust, you avoid court-supervised conservatorship proceedings if you should become incapacitated or die. Any assets forgotten or left out of the trust will be “caught’ in the will. Meaning any assets left out of your trust will have to go through probate.

What Assets Can I Fund My Trust With?

Common assets people fund their trust with include, deeds to their real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bond accounts or certificates. A Folsom estate planning attorney can assist you with the process of funding your trust. At Travis G. Black & Associates, our attorney can review each asset with you and provide you with information regarding the process of transferring it to your living trust.

When you decide to set up a living trust you must choose a trustee. A trustee is the person or persons who manage the trust. A trustee may manage the trust as if the property was their own but the title of the property remains in the name of the grantor. There are several strategies for choosing who you would like to appoint as trustee. Choosing the right trustee to act on your behalf is very important as the trustee of your living trust can have a considerable amount of authority and responsibility and will not be under court supervision. You may be the trustee of your living trust, or you may choose a spouse, adult child, domestic partner, family friend, business associate or professional fiduciary to be your trustee.

Successor Trustees

One way you can choose to manage your trust is to manage the trust yourself while you are living and name a successor trustee to take over the management should you become incapacitate or die. This would allow for all financial and asset-related decisions to remain in your control while you are alive.

How Could a Living Trust be Helpful at My Death?

Most people are familiar with the necessity of drafting a Will in the event of their death. But depending on your estate, creating and managing a living trust could be the most beneficial option for your beneficiaries after your death. A living trust is a trust you create while you are still living. A Grantor (you) will place property into the trust and that property is then held by the trustee in the name of the trust and managed by the Trustee. With a living trust, the Grantor can also be the trustee, meaning you can retain control over your own property while you are alive.

In the event of your death, the management of your trust will then be managed by your appointed trustee. Unlike a Will, the distribution of your property

What Are Living Trusts Blog
A living trust can be used in place of a will in several ways. This is a legal document that outlines your wishes for handling your finances,

bank accounts, your properties, and other important possessions to be administered while you are still living. You also create a plan for how

these will be handled after your death or you become incapacitated.

One of the questions many clients ask us is if they should have a living trust. There are numerous benefits to having a living trust. Below, our Folsom trust attorney at Travis G. Black & Associates can review these many benefits and help determine whether or not this is the right plan of action for you.

Keep on reading below for the top benefits of having a living trust!

The Benefits of a Living Trust

Not all living trusts are created equal—and for good reason. A living trust will depend on the individual’s life circumstances and their financial capacity. If you are unmarried or plan not to be married, and you have very few assets and no children, then you may not need to have a living trust. The same situation would apply even if you were married and have very few assets.

Perhaps the most significant drawback to not having a living trust is the fact that your

estate will be subject to the probate process. So, having a living trust is not only cost-saving in the long run, it protects your future and ensures that all of your wishes are carried out.