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Using living trusts

California residents with estate plans that include a revocable living trust may not be using the legal tool to its full advantage. This could result in a waste of the legal fees paid to create the trust and heirs not being able to reap the benefits of the trust as they should.

For a standard living trust, individuals and their spouse will move the titles to the majority of their assets to the trusts. As co-trustees, they will have complete autonomy over the assets and handle them as they did when they were individual owners.

One of the main benefits of a living trust is that assets placed in it will not have to go through the probate process. After the creator of the trust dies, the successor trust will assume management of the assets and distribute them to the intended beneficiaries in accordance with the trust agreement.

Living trusts can also be used to ensure privacy. The provisions of the assets and the assets that are owned by the trust are not part of the public record, unlike with the information that is contained in wills.

Individuals may also benefit from having a living trust in place if they become incapacitated or disabled. Once they are affirmed by the custodian of assets, the successor trustee can take control of the trust and management of the assets. The transfer involved with a living trust may take place with less difficult than when there is a only power of attorney in place.

An attorney experienced in trusts and trusts administration law may advise clients of what type of mistakes to avoid when using different types of trusts. Legal counsel may be provided regarding which type of trust is most appropriate for a client's assets and goals for those assets.

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