When it comes to your estate plan, it’s important to understand that there are many different types of tools that can be utilized to ensure that your final wishes are realized. When you work with an estate and trust attorney such as the ones at Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys, you have the comfort of knowing that you are collaborating with a team of professionals that are well-versed in the nuances of California estate planning and probate law.
Trusts that Our Trust Attorney in San Diego Can Help You Create
At Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys, our trust attorneys in San Diego believe that it’s critical that you have an in depth understanding of the differences between the various type of trusts that you can use to make the most out of your estate planning strategy. Here are a few examples of the common types of trust that our trust attorney can help you to draft and execute:
Revocable living trust (Family Trust)
A revocable living trust is one of the most commonly used trusts in California.
You may hear this referred to as a Living Trust, Family Trust, Revocable Trust, Intervivos Trust, or any similar variation, but these are all referring to the same type of revocable trust. A reason why it’s so popular among California residents is due to the fact that it provides the creator of the trust, also referred to as the Settlor, with the peace of mind of knowing that even though certain assets have been retitled in the name of the trust, they still have full control over those assets during their lifetime.
Once the creator(s) of the trust are no longer with us, the trust becomes irrevocable and can no longer be changed, so all that’s left to do is follow your directions within.
Blended Family Trust
While the simplicity of a completely revocable living trust is nice, sometimes it makes sense to plan around what happens when one spouse passes away in more detail – in particular around making part of the estate irrevocable upon the passing of the first spouse.
The most common time this planning comes into play is in the case of blended families – when one or both spouses have children from previous relationships. While not required, it’s worth a conversation to see if a blended family trust (commonly called an AB trust, bypass trust, or credit shelter trust) is the right fit for your family.
This type of trust preserves half of the estate for the children when the first spouse passes, and that protection can help give blended families the peace of mind that their children will certainly be taken care of.
Continuing Lifetime Trust
If you want to give your children the gift of asset protection in addition to their inheritance, utilizing a Continuing Lifetime Trust in your family trust is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal. Instead of distributing the assets outright and free of trust to the children at a certain age, their gift will be held as a sub-trust within your family trust for the lifetime of the child.
If set up properly, you can even have the child be their own trustee of their individual continuing lifetime trust, which means they have full control over the assets and may take out whatever they would like, but so long as the asset stays in the trust creditors may not touch it. This gives protection against any judgment creditor or nasty divorce the child may subsequently have or go through.
This often-underutilized strategy is one of the best gifts you can give your children, in particular if they are set to inherit real property which they will rent out or any sizeable inheritance.
Separate Property Trust
Whether dealt with in the overall family trust itself, or broken out into an individual separate property trust(s), many married couples will want to plan around what should happen to their separate property. Perhaps it was property inherited or gifted from their parents, or property that they carried into a marriage and continue to hold separate, but in any event we often help clients set up trusts to hold that separate property and provide for the distribution according to their wishes.
Although not required, placing property into a separate property trust can add a layer of clarity and protection around what is considered community property and separate by the couple. A collaborative, honest, and open approach amongst spouses here helps this often difficult discussion go as smoothly as possible.
Supplemental needs trust
Do you have a loved one that has special or supplemental needs and receives government benefits? If you plan to leave assets to him or her, the best thing that you can do is develop a special needs trust that will allow those assets to transfer to them without putting their government benefits at risk.
With this trust structure they will have access to the funds through your chosen trustee, but because the inheritance does not transfer to their name or control, they do not lose any government benefits.
Almost any parent will tell you that the they feel uncomfortable (to put it lightly) distributing assets outright to minor children, or in many cases even to adult children! Instead, if something ever happened to them, they would prefer to establish a trust that will specifically manage these assets on their behalf until a certain age or series of ages.
This is wise planning in terms of what’s best for the child and it also helps to avoid burdensome filings in Court when dealing with the assets of a minor child. A minors trust or separate share trust within your family trust can accomplish this goal.
Contrary to a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust is one which cannot be easily amended after it is created and the person who sets up the trust relinquishes control of the property when it passes into the trust. These types of trusts are plentiful within their own category (from ILITs and CRTs to GRATs and SLATs to IDGTs and alphabet soup galore) and are often utilized to accomplish specific goals.
Creditor protection, medi-cal planning, gifting strategies, and estate tax planning for high-net-worth individuals are some of the more common reasons to incorporate an irrevocable trust into your plan. It’s very important to sit down with an Estate Planning Attorney to determine what type of irrevocable trust is best for you or whether your goals could be accomplished in a simpler way.
Very often we meet with clients who believe they need an irrevocable trust because Google told them so, but it is not actually the right fit for their situation. That said, they can certainly be a powerful tool if used in the right situations.
Benefits of Working with a Trust Attorney in San Diego
The advantages of working with a trust attorney in San Diego to develop and establish your trust are seemingly endless. However, there are several reasons why the living trust attorneys at Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys believe that collaborating with us is invaluable:
Peace of mind
Establishing a living trust or utilizing another trust option with a qualified professional can provide you with the peace of mind that your assets will actually be distributed according to your wishes.
During your consultation with our trust attorney, you will go over in detail the vision that you have when it comes to distributing your assets when you are no longer with us and what the most important goals are to you and we’ll develop a plan for a document that covers those wishes and is legally sound.
There may be certain tax benefits associated with using a trust in your estate plan over a different type of strategy and it is not uncommon to save clients and their beneficiaries hundreds of thousands of dollars in various tax savings during the process.
When you meet with one of our trust attorneys in San Diego, we will speak with you about your current financial situation as well as that of your beneficiaries to ensure that you and your beneficiaries make the most out of all available estate planning tools and techniques.
Probate in California is something that should be avoided at all costs whenever possible. One of the leading reasons why so many residents of not only San Diego but California in general take advantage of using a trust in their estate plan is because a trust can help your heirs avoid the probate process. Probate in California can be extremely expensive and time-consuming, and it is a public process for the world to see.
By using a trust to settle your estate, you can avoid probate entirely while ensuring that your beneficiaries receive the assets from your estate in the way that you want and the way that’s best for them, all while keeping your family affairs private.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Living Trust Attorney in San Diego Today
Regardless of whether you would like to speak with our trust attorney about your options for a simple living trust or you’re ready to consider your options for a comprehensive estate plan, the trust and estate planning attorneys at Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning are here and ready to help. We take a personalized approach to estate planning in the sense that we take the time to get to learn more about our clients so that we can help them to recognize the goals that they have for their estate plan. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our estate planning process and take advantage of our offer for a free consultation.