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Your Living Trust - The Core of Estate Planning in California


A fully funded Living Trust normally serves as the core of an estate plan prepared by a Living Trust Lawyer. Most individuals and married couples can achieve all their goals with Living Trust planning. I also design and implement many advanced trusts and other strategies in my Family Wealth Strategies planning for large or complex estates, particularly where estate and income tax planning are important.  But, most clients need only Living Trust Lawyer services.


A skilled Living Trust Lawyer will draft and help you fund a Living Trust will protect your heirs from the substantial costs and hassle of probate. Your Living Trust specifies how assets are passed to your heirs (for generations and generations to come in many cases), who manages the assets (it is often, but not necessarily, your chosen heirs) and who exercises discretion over your wealth. With proper planning, it can help save substantial income and estate taxes for you and/or your heirs.




Estate Planning and Living Trust

Moreover, a good Living Trust Lawyer will give you a well crafted Living Trust, coupled with carefully drafted powers of attorney and health care directives, that will protect you by substituting for a conservatorship during your life if you are no longer able to manage your property yourself. This allows you to set the rules for the use of your property and your care, instead of letting the state and some stranger in black robes make the rules for you. 


Documents Included in Our Revocable Trust Package


A Living Trust Lawyer's planning should include much more than just the Living Trust instrument.  In the planning I do it also comes with important ancillary documents, each of which is customized for the choices you make in planning.  As your Living Trust Lawyer I design the documents to work together as part of an integrated plan. The documents I draft as your Living Trust Lawyer normally include:


  1. Customized Revocable Living Trust Agreement

  2. Pourover Will(s) to transfer property not funded into your Living Trust during your life

  3. Durable Power(s) of Attorney to govern financial decisions for property not in your Living Trust or issues independent of your Living Trust

  4. Advanced Health Care Directives

  5. Docubank enrollment so your agents and medical providers can obtain copies of your Advanced Health Care Directives   CLICK HERE for information regarding Docubank and SAFE

  6. Access to a "SAFE" in the internet cloud to store estate planning documents

  7. HIPPA Authorization so your heirs and agents can get medical information if you are incapacitated

  8. Certificates of Trust to give to banks, brokers and others who need to establish the authority of your Trustee (even when it is you!)

  9. Assignment of Personal Property to the Living Trust

  10. Property Agreement(s) specifying what property in the Living Trust is community property or separate property, and severing joint tenancies where appropriate (this has major income tax saving potential)

  11. Tangible Personal Property Memorandum to enable you to direct your "stuff" (jewelry, art, furniture, collectibles, momentos, etc.) to the appropriate heirs

  12. Remembrance and Services Memorandum 

  13. Fiduciary Summary (current and successor Trustees and agents)

  14. Trust ID cards for your wallet

  15. Funding Reference Card to facilitate transfers to the Living Trust

  16. A Trust Summary for reference by you and successor Trustees

  17. Quick Reference Page to make it easier to use the Living Trust


You should expect a good Living Trust plan to include all of these.


Documents Are Important, but Planning Is KING

I take great care to draft comprehensive documents.  However, the best documents do you no good unless they reflect your informed planning choices . Because of that, I spend a lot of time helping you understand your options and working to make sure you have made informed decisions regarding important choices.  


Your estate planning documents must work when you are no longer around, or are no longer able to make decision for yourself and your heirs.  Wtih proper planning, I make sure the documents will work the way that YOU want them to, not the way the government or some stranger, or even an heir (except to the extent that you want an heir to make decisions) wants them to work.  


Remember our motto:  "If you fail to plan, plan to fail."


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