A will might not be enough for many California residents to meet their estate-planning goals. A trust might provide a better way to distribute their property and take care of their loved ones even after death. Fortunately, there are a variety of trusts from which to choose.
Living trusts are popular with many California residents because they can be set up during an individual’s lifetime, which means that the assets in them will not need to go through probate. These trusts can either be revocable (changeable during life) or irrevocable (unchangeable). Some people prefer testamentary trusts, which are created in a will. However, the assets that go into this type of trust will have to go through probate before they can be put into the trust.
Still other people might need a specific type of trust to meet a certain purpose. A credit-shelter trust (family or bypass trust) is funded in the will up to the estate tax exemption for the year of a person’s death. Then, the remainder of the estate passes to the decedent’s spouse without him or her having to pay taxes on it. Once the trust is created, the assets in it will never be subject to estate tax even as the assets appreciate.
These are just some of the more popular trusts that can be created. Others are available to meet an individual’s particular needs. In order to choose the trust that will work best for you, it would be beneficial to sit down with an estate-planning attorney and discuss what it is you want to accomplish. He or she can then help you get there so that you can have the peace of mind that your family will be taken care of in the manner you desire.