Q. How can I protect my child's inheritance?
A. The law allows an 18 year old to freely spend an inheritance. If you feel this is unwise, your trust can restrict when and how the inheritance will be used. For instance, your Trust can state that the inheritance will be used only for necessities, such as shelter, food, education, etc. After that, the inheritance will be given to the child in increments (i.e., one-third at age 25, one-third at age 30 and the balance at 35). Or you can give the trustee discretion in deciding when and how much to give the child. You are limited only in your imagination in writing conditions into the trust. You should also name a guardian for minor children.
Q. Does a Living Trust have advantages for me during my lifetime?
A. Yes. If you become incapacitated and cannot handle your financial affairs, your Living Trust will keep you from being put under a court supervised guardianship or conservatorship. Your successor trustee will act for you. The Probate court will not be involved.
Q. Does a Living Trust allow me to keep control of my property?
A. Yes. You still control your property and you can do whatever you please with it. You may buy, sell, change investments - just as you normally would. You may put property in and take property out of your Living Trust. Moreover, since your Trust is revocable, you may revoke your Trust at anytime.
Specializing in Living Trust Estate Plans
Q. Why does your estate plan cost $895 when I have been quoted $1500 and up to $3000 for a similar service? Is there something I'm not getting with your plan?
A. No, my plan includes everything you need to be properly protected. The reason I charge $895 and not more is because I am trying to appeal to a segment of the population that needs to get an estate plan in place but doesn't want to, or can't afford to, spend the typical market price of $1500 to $3000 and beyond.
Q. Why have a Living Trust?
A. A Living Trust is the plan that you can make to avoid probate.
Q. Why should probate be avoided?
A. Probate is expensive! Your estate has to pay at least two people (the personal representative and the attorney) to oversee the transfer of your property to your heirs. Their fees are based on the value of your GROSS estate (can range from 6 to 10%). They can even charge more fees for additional services such as selling your property. Additionally, probate takes too long. The average probate estate is open from one to two years. Your heirs must wait to receive your property.
Q. Can probate be avoided with a Will, or without a Will?
A. No. A Will, or lack of a Will, does not avoid probate. A Will merely states who is to receive your property. Per California law, your estate will be probated if it exceeds $150,000.00 in value.