Chula Vista Trusts Attorneys
Helping Families Maintain Their Privacy and Avoid Probate
There is a persistent myth that trusts are exclusively for exuberantly wealthy families with massive estates. While trusts are absolutely used by the affluent, they confer benefits that can enhance many estate plans and protect the interests of all types of individuals and their loved ones. When used in conjunction with a last will and testament and other estate planning instruments, trusts can be leveraged to help maintain privacy, avoid the worst of probate, and institute useful wealth management mechanisms.
Our Chula Vista trusts lawyers at The Sexton Law Firm are prepared to help you understand how trusts can form a critical component of your estate plan. We can shape trusts to be tailored to your individual needs and can incorporate both revocable and irrevocable trusts into your larger estate plan.
How Trusts Differ from Wills
On the surface, trusts and wills can seem fundamentally similar. Both allow you to name beneficiaries for your assets once you pass away. However, there are numerous types and subtypes of trusts, all tailored to specific functions.
A last will and testament is a single document that only activates once you are gone. Trusts are legal and financial relationships in which a grantor places assets in the care of a trustee, who manages them on behalf of one or more beneficiaries. Unlike a will, you can establish as many trusts as you would like, and some types will operate and can be modified while you are still alive.
Wills and trusts are often used in concert to form strong estate plans. Trusts are often used to protect a bulk of an individual’s assets. A will is then used to “catch” any property not placed in a trust as well as name an executor to settle your estate and a guardian to any minor children. Our Chula Vista trusts attorneys can work with you to identify how wills and trusts can work together to protect your interests.
Advantages of Trusts
Trusts come in many classifications. Family trusts, which are a type of living trust, are used by many in their estate plans to better protect and control their assets.
Revocable family trusts, which can be modified while the grantor is still alive, confer several key benefits, including:
- Avoiding of probate. The authenticity of a will and its instructions can be disputed, leading to lengthy legal conflicts and other delays in probate court. Assets protected by trusts are not subject to probate, saving time, money, and stress.
- Maintaining of privacy. Contents of wills and matters of probate court are a matter of public record. Trusts are entirely private, including the assets involved and who receives them.
- Enhanced control of assets. Trusts can be designed to preserve assets for individuals who might not otherwise be able to manage them. This can include minor children and persons with special needs.
Irrevocable family trusts cannot be altered once instituted but can provide even more benefits, including:
- Avoiding of estate taxes. When an individual passes away, the totality of their estate must be valuated to determine if any state or federal estate taxes must be paid. Any assets placed in an irrevocable trust are not subject to this total, in effect helping individuals lawfully avoid estate taxes, maximizing the amount of assets passed to their loved ones.
- Protection of assets. If someone owes money to creditors when they die, those debts must be resolved before any remaining assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. This means that debts can jeopardize the instructions of a will or a trust if proactive steps are not taken. Any assets placed in an irrevocable trust no longer belong to the grantor, meaning creditors cannot seize the property to settle an outstanding debt.
- Protection of eligibility for government benefits. Placing monetary assets in an irrevocable trust can help the grantor continue to qualify for certain types of government benefits, including Medicaid.
We Can Help You Build an Effective Trust
Our team at The Sexton Law Firm want to help you avoid legal complications and protect your privacy. Conflicts in probate court can delay your final wishes from being honored. Our Chula Vista trusts lawyers can help you avert probate, maintain your family’s privacy, and maximize your flexibility in managing your estate. We can help identify what types of trusts can help you protect your interests. We can also ensure your trusts work effectively with other elements of your estate plan.
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