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Estate planning is an essential part of planning for your future and the future of your family. It can be difficult to plan for the end of your life and the care of your assets after your death, but it is necessary to protect your estate and yourself and ensure your loved ones retain the benefits from your years of effort. A San Clemente trusts attorney can help you determine your needs for an estate plan and how to draft wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other important documents.

When a family member dies without any estate plan in place, it can complicate an already difficult time for their loved ones. During a time of grief, family members must deal with probate court, uncertain wishes, and the results of state succession laws. Depending on the documents in an estate plan, a deceased person’s estate can be distributed according to their wishes in probate or avoid probate altogether.

In order to save your loved ones this stress and frustration, you need to have an effective and legally enforceable estate plan in place. A strong estate plan is adaptable to your personal needs, and many estate plans include one or more trusts. Trusts can provide additional protection for your assets and bring your loved ones more financial benefits.

Best San Clemente Trusts Attorney

Effective Estate Planning With a San Clemente Trust Attorney

For more than 35 years, Paul V. L. Campo has been guiding families and individuals through creating and maintaining their estate plans. The team at the Estate Preservation Group has proudly served people in the San Clemente area and nearby communities, helping clients determine their needs and goals for a potential estate plan and drafting and reviewing an estate plan that meets these goals.

An estate plan needs to cater to the requirements of your estate, individual assets, your needs, and the requirements of your heirs. At our firm, we strive to find how to most effectively meet your unique needs and provide your estate and loved ones with the protections they need.

The team at the Estate Preservation Group is well-equipped to help you create an estate plan, and they also have years of experience in trust, probate, and estate administration for when you have lost a loved one and are trying to manage their estate and wishes.

Because our team has experience on both sides of the estate planning and administration process, we are particularly qualified to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to make important decisions throughout the entire process.

Understanding Trusts in San Clemente

A trust is a legal entity that allows assets to be transferred to a beneficiary without needing to pass through probate court. Assets such as bank accounts, real estate, retirement accounts, investments, and other large assets can be transferred to the trust. You can name beneficiaries for these assets, which may be an individual, charity, or other organization.

Because the assets remain in the ownership of the trust, they do not pass into state jurisdiction. Like a will, a trust can dictate how and to whom assets are distributed after the death of the creator of the will, or the trustor. The trustor names an individual to become the trustee following their death, and the trustee is responsible for the trust’s assets and their distribution.

An estate plan can include multiple trusts for different purposes. The main reason an individual creates a trust is to keep their assets and estate out of probate. Some trusts are created to avoid tax implications, keep certain assets from creditors, or set aside finances for the care of pets. The main types of trusts include:

  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Revocable or living trusts
  • Silent trusts
  • Pet trusts
  • IRA trusts
  • Charitable trusts
  • Special needs trusts
  • Generation-skipping trusts
  • Testamentary trusts

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trust

The main difference between a revocable and an irrevocable trust is that revocable trusts can be altered or updated prior to the trustor’s death, and an irrevocable trust cannot. Once the trustor dies, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable and cannot be altered.

  • Revocable Trust
    A revocable, or living trust, is a more commonly used form of trust. As the creator of a living trust, you maintain control over the assets in a revocable trust and have full rights and access to them. If you want to make changes to the assets in the trust or the individuals or organizations the assets benefit, you can do that as long as you are determined to have the legal capacity to do so. You also have the right to close the trust if you want to. One disadvantage of a living trust is that the assets are still considered your personal property, meaning that they may still be subject to certain taxes or creditor claims, depending on the circumstances.
  • Irrevocable Trust
    An irrevocable trust is very effective for asset protection. It cannot be altered after its creation, except in very specific situations. In most situations, this requires the consent of all beneficiaries named in the trust, the consent of the trustor, and the approval of the court. Creating an irrevocable trust means that you give up your rights to the assets placed into the trust. Irrevocable trusts are beneficial to protect assets from creditors and taxes that may otherwise impact your estate. An experienced trust attorney can help you determine what type of trust is most useful for your circumstances.

What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?

Wills and trusts both enable you to designate heirs or beneficiaries for assets and create a plan for the distribution of your estate. However, there are distinct differences between the documents, including:

  • Probate court. The biggest difference between a will and a trust is that assets in a trust do not have to pass through probate court, while assets in a will do. By placing the majority of your assets in trusts, your loved ones can avoid a long probate process. They will lose fewer benefits to court costs and taxes.
  • Probate is a public process, and a will is a publicly recorded document. If you want to keep certain assets or your estate out of the public record, a trust enables you to do so. Without a trust, the amount of your assets and who now owns them can be found by anyone. Providing privacy can also limit conflicts between beneficiaries.
  • Certain types of trusts can keep assets completely protected from creditors, legal action, and divorce property division. Other types of trusts can limit the impact these actions have on your estate. A will does not provide this protection.
  • Special needs planning. A trust enables you to provide assets to a loved one who receives government benefits for a mental or physical disability without threatening their ability to continue receiving those assistance benefits.
  • A trust provides you with more control over how and when beneficiaries receive assets. Trusts enable you to provide certain time frames or requirements for asset distribution, such as a minor child or grandchild reaching the age of 18.
  • Personal protection. A trust enables you to plan for mental incapacity or disability before the end of your life. This can avoid the need for guardianship or conservatorship.

Because of the benefits a trust provides, it is often more expensive to set up. However, creating a trust can save you and your family many costs in the future. Not every person needs to set up a trust for their estate, and a qualified attorney can help you determine what is necessary to protect your estate.

Why Do I Want to Avoid Probate?

Probate court is a long, costly, and often frustrating process for loved ones who are dealing with the loss of a family member. The court-supervised process of probate can take months or years, depending on the complexity of the estate or the amount of disputes by heirs and interested parties.

During this time period, the heirs to the estate cannot access the assets left to them in the will. They will have to pay court costs, attorney fees, and other costs. At the same time, their inheritance may be impacted by state or federal taxes.

A trust can prevent all or most of the assets in an estate from entering probate. This saves beneficiaries significant time, even if a small portion of the estate is left in a pour-over will. It also ensures that beneficiaries receive the maximum number of benefits possible from the estate.

How Can San Clemente Trust Attorneys Help Me?

You want your trust to be legally enforceable and clearly understandable. If it is not, the time, effort, and money you put into creating it is wasted, and the assets may still enter probate. An experienced trust attorney can ensure your trust is straightforward and clearly expresses your intentions for assets and beneficiaries.

Your attorney can determine the type of trust or trusts you need, help you transfer assets, and lay out specific terms. By working with an attorney, you can be more confident in the protection and distribution of your estate.

Protect Your Interests With the Estate Preservation Group

There are many documents in a comprehensive estate plan that can protect you, your family, and your estate during your lifetime and after your passing. Contact Estate Preservation Group to learn how our firm can help create a plan that protects your needs.

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