A Step By Step Guide To Making a Living Trust In California

Living trusts are a great way to ensure that your assets are distributed how you want them to be after you pass away. It’s one of the only ways to ensure control since probate courts will distribute any assets you leave behind using state-mandated laws. If you’re looking into setting up a living trust in California, here’s an overview of how to make one!

How to create a living trust

Living trusts are a great way to ensure that your assets are distributed how you want them to be after you pass away. It’s one of the only ways to ensure control since probate courts will distribute any assets you leave behind using state-mandated laws. If you’re looking into setting up a living trust in California, here’s an overview of how to make one and what it can do for you.

1. Take stock of your assets

Before you start creating your living trust, taking stock of your assets is essential. This means gathering together every bank account and investment statement, listing all real estate holdings, including both primary and secondary residences, and going through your personal property to count up everything from furniture to jewelry.

2. Select a trustee

The person you choose to be your trustee will manage and oversee all of your property, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and any other assets you leave behind in your trust. Because it’s essential to get along with whoever manages your estate, make sure that you select someone who gets along well with you—and whom you trust. You should also appoint an alternate trustee if your primary trustee cannot fulfill their duties due to illness or death.

3. Select your beneficiaries

This is probably one of the most important things to do when creating your living trust. Who gets what? Your estate will be distributed following your directions, so it’s important to plan and ensure that your decisions are consistent with how you want to allocate resources after your death. Discuss who you would like to receive assets with trusted family members and advisors, such as a living trust California attorney or financial advisor.

4. Draft a Declaration of Trust

You’ll need to draft a Declaration of Trust to make your living trust official. A declaration of trust describes who is creating or making a living trust and explains how it’s being created. It is often a straightforward document; however, depending on your situation, there are specific steps you may have to take to create an enforceable declaration of trust. Contact an attorney for more information about creating a declaration of trust if necessary. Don’t forget that filing fees will apply!

5. Sign your document in front of a notary

Notaries are individuals authorized by the state government to confirm signatures, usually for legal documents like wills or affidavits. You can find notaries in private practice, banks, other financial institutions, and some real estate firms. Fees vary but should be less than $100 per document.

6. Transfer your property to the trust

While your revocable living trust is up and running, you can transfer some or all of your assets into it. After transferring, you’ll sign over any financial accounts to your trustee. If you want to keep things more private, you should sign over the title after death. This avoids probate altogether.

Revoking a Living Trust

If you are unhappy with your living trust, there is a way to get rid of it. A living trust is revocable, meaning you can revoke it anytime. If you are done with your trust and want to revoke it, you must prepare and file a simple document called Revocation of Declaration of Trust before a notary public. You must be over 18 years old to revoke your trust and understand your actions.

Conclusion

An estate plan helps ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you want them while saving costs for both your family and government agencies at the same time.