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Minimize Taxation and Avoid Probate with Guidance from our Thousand Oaks Attorneys

A trust is a legal arrangement among three (3) parties.

  • Trustor (person who creates the trust)
  • Trustee (person or entity that manages the assets in the trust pursuant to the trust’s terms)
  • Beneficiary (person or people who benefit from the trust)

Trusts are powerful estate planning tools providing you with great flexibility and privacy. There are many different types of trusts and they all serve different purposes. You may want to create a trust to minimize taxation or help loved ones avoid probate.

The choices are vast and without the help of an estate planning attorney it may be difficult to decipher what type of trust is best for you, your assets and your loved ones. For over 35 years Family Security Law Group, APC has been assisting clients in Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Moorpark, Camarillo, Agoura Hills, Oak Park and throughout the Conejo Valley to create customized trusts designed around each client’s unique needs.

To learn more about how we can help you, please call our office or use our Request a Consultation page to email us. We are here to serve your needs and bring you peace of mind about your estate.

Some popular trusts are briefly described below.

Testamentary Trusts

Testamentary trusts are trusts created in a person’s will. See the discussion of “Testamentary Trust” under the “Wills” Section of this website for more details.

Revocable Trusts

Revocable Trusts have become very popular through the years. In a Revocable Trust, the client is generally the Trustor, Trustee and Beneficiary of the trust throughout the client’s lifetime. Thus, the client creates the trust, manages the assets in the trust (Why not? The client has been managing these assets for years!), and is the beneficiary of the trust (The client better be the beneficiary because these are the client’s assets!).

A revocable trust can be terminated, amended or revoked at any time prior to the creator’s death.

Some of the benefits of a Revocable Trust are:

  1. A court probate proceeding is not required for assets contained in a Revocable Trust.
  2. The time required for administering a Revocable Trust after a death is generally less than the time to probate a will.
  3. The expense of administering a Revocable Trust after a death is generally less than the cost to probate a will.
  4. A four-month creditor claim period is not required in the administration of a Revocable Trust, but this claim period is required in a probate.
  5. A Revocable Trust offers some incapacity planning whereas a Will does not.
  6. The administration of a Trust is generally private and outside of court whereas a Will is generally administered in court which is a very public proceeding.

A Revocable Trust will typically provide for all of the assets in the trust to be used for your benefit (the Creator of the Trust) throughout your life, be managed by you during your lifetime and then at death, be distributed outright or in trust to your intended beneficiaries.

Analogize the trust to the game of Monopoly. You open a Monopoly game and there are a written set of rules. In your trust, you get to state in writing the rules you want the trust to be governed by. In order to play Monopoly, you need the game board, dice, money, deeds to property, etc. For your trust to be operational, you need to place some of your assets into the trust, such as real estate, stocks, bonds and other investments, bank accounts, business interests, etc.

When you create a revocable trust you generally will transfer as many assets as possible into the trust while you are alive in order to avoid those assets going through probate. Assets in trust will remain under your control (assuming that you are the trustee).

Minimize taxation through a trust

Irrevocable Trusts

The terms of an Irrevocable Trust cannot be changed once signed, hence the label “Ir”revocable meaning non-changeable. Because you have given up the right to revoke, amend or otherwise change the terms of the trust, you are no longer treated as the owner of the assets in an Irrevocable Trust. Such a situation can be desirous for a number of reasons. Not being deemed the owner of the assets in an Irrevocable Trust can be advantageous from an estate tax planning stand point because these assets will not be included in your estate at death and therefore will minimize taxation at your death. From an asset protection stand point, assets in an Irrevocable Trust can be protected from creditors in certain circumstances.

You should consult an estate planning lawyer and be absolutely certain before you commit to an irrevocable trust as mistakenly selecting an irrevocable trust when you meant to choose a revocable trust could result in legal and tax consequences.

Special Trusts

There are many different types of special trusts that can be designed to:

  • Preserve assets for public benefits
  • Protect assets from creditors
  • Provide for use of family residence
  • Provide for income tax, gift tax, and estate tax advantages and minimize taxation
  • Provide incentives for beneficiaries to attain

Please see the section “Special Trusts” for more information.

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