Trusts can support many estate planning goals for people in California. A trust creates a legal entity that can accept ownership of various assets that a person chooses to transfer into it. Significant advantages provided by trusts include the private transfer of wealth and avoidance of the public probate process.
Parents or grandparents in California and throughout the country generally must tell beneficiaries that they are included in a trust. However, there is no clear guideline as to when they must tell their children or grandchildren about their inheritance. As a general rule, a beneficiary must be given an annual statement by the time he or she reaches age 25. These updates are necessary to ensure that beneficiaries can protect their own interests.
Many people in California have loved ones who are struggling with addictions. People often want to leave behind bequests to their family members, but wonder how to do so in a way that is responsible when the recipient has a substance use disorder. This question is increasingly common, especially as the opioid crisis has spread across the United States. In 2016 alone, over 42,000 people died as a result of opiate use, five times the death rate in 1999. Addiction can lead to difficult relationships and dangerous, even criminal, behavior, but many people love and want to support their addicted loved ones.
It's not unusual for individuals in California looking to effectively manage their estate to establish a trust for this purpose. But there are times when someone with an existing trust may consider creating a second one. This brings to mind a related question - does a second trust revoke the first one? Generally, the answer is no since a trust is not like will in that a new one will not replace the original or prior one. This is because wills usually contain a clause that states that a new one revokes any prior documents of this nature.
California residents who are looking to reduce their tax bill while helping an important cause could do both with a charitable trust. Legally, a charitable trust must focus on helping to solve a problem like reliving poverty or anything else beneficial to the community as a whole. As a general rule, the trustee has a fiduciary duty, which means that the person or entity overseeing it must always act in a beneficiary's best interest.
Trusts are estate planning documents that allow for the distribution of assets after the death of the trust maker. In most cases, trusts have provisions calling for assets to be distributed to specific people, but the trust cannot do the distributing itself. Rather, that is the realm of the trust's executor. People who make trusts in California will appoint an executor as part of the process. The executor of a trust has a number of responsibilities, including managing the trust, filing probate and tax documents, making distributions and accounting for changes in circumstance.
For many California residents, trusts can be an optimal method to achieve their estate planning goals while preserving privacy, as trusts transfer property outside the probate system. Settlors can develop a range of innovative methods to pass wealth to their beneficiaries. However, when creating a trust, it can be important to select the right fiduciary. The trustee, who manages the assets on behalf of the beneficiary, should be someone responsible, trustworthy and communicative.
Many people in California consider how they can best protect their assets now and provide for their families in the future. Trusts provide important mechanisms not only to pass on wealth between generations without relying on the probate system but also to realize significant tax savings during a person's life. Therefore, many people wish to create trusts to provide for their children or other loved ones in the future. However, some people are concerned that if their children grow up knowing that a substantial trust fund is waiting for them, they may feel less incentive to succeed academically and in their careers.
Wealthy people in California may want to ensure that they can pass on significant assets to their children or other loved ones. However, many people may not want to disclose their plans early on, especially if they have many years left to live and want to benefit from tax as well as estate planning. In addition, their children may be quite young, and parents may want to encourage them to work hard and succeed without planning to rely on family money. However, when people create trusts, the trustees managing the assets have a responsibility to report on their administration to trust beneficiaries.
Parents in California may have an interest in establishing a legacy for themselves long after they depart this world. One way to do that is to ensure that their children have the money needed for a quality education. This goal may be accomplished by using a trust or by investing in a 529 plan. Before creating a trust, it is important for a parent to know what his or her money is intended to accomplish.