It is often the case that California residents put off making their estate plans because they think the process will be too difficult and they worry about making mistakes. However, it is more often the situation that a person's estate will suffer from delays, costly issues, and other detriments if they do not have an estate plan. One of the legal documents that some may choose to include in their estate plan is a living trust. These testamentary tools offer many benefits.
A living trust is a tool that allows a person to place their property into trust for a beneficiary. The trust will be under the management of a trustee. If the trust is revocable it can be changed, but if it is irrevocable it may not be modified. A living trust that survives until a person's death may not be probated, which can save beneficiaries time and money when it comes to receiving their bequests.
Since assets in a living trust avoid probate, a decedent's estate may remain private. Probate is a public process, but when property and assets are included in a living trust they may pass through the channels created therein and not through the public process of probate. This may serve the interests of both the grantor and their beneficiaries.
Living trusts can help individuals avoid certain end of life taxes, costs associated with long probate processes and other headaches. They can be structured to serve the needs of the grantor, and therefore can be useful to those who choose to include them in their estate plan.