Common Issues in a Trust Administration
Counsel from an Oakland Trust Lawyer
One major misconception people have regarding trusts is in thinking they'll
save taxes by putting money into a trust. Trusts can be legitimately used
to save estate tax, but that only comes into play for estates above $5.4
million (that's the amount for 2015 calculating inflation). If you
have an estate in that neighborhood, you can set up a trust with certain
provisions that can minimize or even eliminate federal estate tax, but
you can also do the same with a will, so the trust isn't necessarily better.
When people come to me and ask if they should set up a trust, I tell them yes,
if they want to avoid probate. Frankly, if they're going to go to the trouble of setting up a will
sophisticated enough to save estate taxes, they should know it doesn't
cost much more to set up a trust that can do the same thing. I don't
think I've ever drafted a will to avoid estate tax.
To get more honest, straightforward answers from an
Oakland trust lawyer, call
How Often Do You Clean Up a Trust?
It's not uncommon for a trust to be set up and then for the beneficiaries,
typically the children of the person who set up the trust, to have a dispute
either with each other or with the trustee regarding how the terms of
the trust will be carried out. That happens fairly frequently and that's
when attorneys get involved.
Sometimes that could have been avoided if the trust had been drafted a
bit differently. So if you are considering setting up a trust, you should hire an experienced trust attorney with substantial insight to guide you through the process.
What Else Should You Know About Trusts?
If the trust agreement does not specify that the trustee is not to get
a fee, then the trustee will be entitled to a reasonable fee. Financial
institution trustees will charge a substantial fee, so this is something
it's one of the most common disputes about trusts. Sometimes, they'll have one child serving as the trustee and the
other children frequently dispute how much the trustee is entitled to.
The main thing to understand is
there is incredible flexibility with trusts and if you are either interested in or thinking about a trust, or you
have a life situation that involves finances and you're not sure how
to deal with it, you should contact an Alameda County trust attorney who
is experienced in dealing with trusts to discuss your case with them.
For more information on misconceptions about trusts, a free initial consultation
is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you're
Using a Trust to Avoid Probate and Conservatorship
The probate process is expensive, time-consuming, and public. In addition,
probate is a burden borne by the people you leave behind at a time when
they are already grieving. With a living trust, you can take care of everything
yourself and know that your death won't place the burden of probate
on your loved ones.
There are some other benefits to a living trust, including the fact that
you can set up a plan for what happens to your assets if you become incapacitated.
This is important; if you became disabled or are no longer competent to manage your assets
and you don't have a living trust, someone will have to go to court
and set up what's called a conservatorship, which is a very expensive
and time-consuming process that is possibly even more burdensome than
probate. But if you have a living trust, if something like that happens
to you, the successor trustee can step in and manage your assets for you
according to the guidelines that you established. That's the second
major advantage of setting up a living trust.
For more information on
the basic requirements for trusts,
free initial consultation.