How to File a Living Trust 

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    Estate planning documents like a living trust are some of the most important legal documents you will create. Living trusts let you protect your assets, provide for you loved ones, and carry on your legacy. In California, it is often recommended to file a living trust in place of a traditional last will and testament as it provides more protection for your estate assets. Filing a living trust is a great way to help avoid the costly delays of probate altogether so your heirs can get their inheritance sooner. If you are unsure where to start or how to file, read on to learn more. 

    What is a Living Trust? 

    A living trust is a legal document that you can utilize to distribute your property to people or organizations after you pass. Once the living trust is established, you can transfer your assets into it, effectively transferring control of them to the trust itself. While you are alive, your living trust (and everything in it) is under your control. Once you pass, control of the trust passes to either your heirs or to a trustee who maintains control of the assets in the trust until your heirs can receive their inheritance. The assets that you can include in your trust must have value, including real estate, investment accounts, and other possessions.  

    Before you file a living trust, it is important to know the two types of living trusts available so you make the right decision for your estate: revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. Revocable living trusts give you the ability to change the document or revoke it at any point during your lifetime. Irrevocable trusts are difficult to change once they are created, which is why revocable trusts are more popular.  

    How to Create & File a Living Trust 

    To start a living trust, the first step you will need to do is to make a list of all your assets. This list should include all your physical and financial property that you will want to include. Examples of the property include real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, family heirlooms, or other valuable assets. Once the list is complete, you must choose a trustee. A trustee is a person manages the assets of the trust in following your death. This should be someone you know well and trust completely to abide by your wishes in your absence. This person may be a close friend or family member. 

    Your beneficiaries are the people or organizations who you choose to receive the assets in your trust. In other words, you must designate your heirs. Once you’ve decided on the assets to transfer to the living trust, your trustee, and your beneficiaries, you can draw up your declaration of trust. This process may prove a little tricky and many assets could be missed in the trust’s creation, so you may choose to call on legal assistance. If you find yourself stuck, a legal document assistant can help. 

    Once the trust is created, you will need to sign it in front of a notary to validate it. With the trust formed and validated, you can begin transferring your assets into the new legal entity. As you acquire new assets throughout your life, be sure to transfer them into your trust or purchase them directly under your trust.  

    If you have any questions about preparing a living trust, contact us today or call (909) 497-1349 to schedule your next appointment with our team of professional LDAs!