This article is on the four reasons you need a living trust. If you’re a California real property owner, you’re likely concerned about what happens to your home if you were to die. A living trust is a powerful tool to address your concern and more.
First, what is a living trust? A living trust is a legal document. Your assets transfer into the trust while you are still alive. You name yourself the trustee and during your lifetime maintain control over your assets. Then, when you pass away, the trust assets are transferred to your designated beneficiaries.
Here are some of the important advantages of using a living trust to protect your California real property:
- Avoid Probate: A living trust allows your assets to pass to your beneficiaries without going through the probate. Probate is a court-supervised process that can be lengthy, expensive, and public. By avoiding probate, you save time and money. Also you keep your affairs private.
- Greater Control: You maintain control over your assets during your lifetime. You can change the terms of the trust, add or remove assets. You can even revoke the trust entirely, if needed.
- Flexibility: You can tailor your living trust to your needs and circumstances. For example, you can include provisions for the care of minor children or children with special needs. Another example is if you have children who are not financially savvy. For these children you can distribute assets over time or based on certain conditions.
- Reduce taxes: A living trust can effectively minimize estate taxes and capital gains taxes. The surviving spouse can reduce capital gains tax with a step-up in basis on the death of the first spouse.
A step-up in basis is when one spouse dies, his or her half of the community property basis increases to fair market value as of the date of death.
Overall, a living trust provides significant advantages for California real property owners looking to protect their assets and provide for their loved ones. To learn more about whether a living trust is right for you, call Mark W. Bidwell for an appointment to meet. His phone number is 714-846-2888, or email Mark@DeedAndRecord.