Planning a Trust
Experienced Oakland Trust Lawyer
There are several key decisions you will have to make when setting up a
trust. You need to decide on the type of trust you wish to create and
what assets it will contain. Depending on the size and complexity of your
estate, planning and creating a trust can be straightforward or very involved.
Because these matters can often be so confusing, it is recommended that
you retain a skilled trust attorney to assist you. That is exactly what
you will find when you come to my firm. As an Oakland trust lawyer, I
make sure my clients are satisfied with their legal documents and confident
in my counsel.
Taking an Inventory of Your Assets
Gaining an accurate account of your assets is the first step in deciding
what will and won't be included in a trust arrangement.
Assets to be considered include:
- Retirement accounts
- Insurance policies
- Real estate
- Business assets
In some cases, assets may be shifted around prior to a trust creation to
make them more easily managed or more clearly described. The inventory
itself is an excellent tool, simply because it clearly lays out the details
of someone's financial life, but there is much more to establishing
a trust than this.
Other Considerations with Trusts
Before drawing up a trust, matters to be considered include:
Who will inherit assets and how much? Are there specific assets to go to specific beneficiaries or are you more
interested in a percentage distribution?
Will the trust serve simply as a vehicle to avoid probate or should it endure? In some situations, a trust will continue to function long after the death
of the settlor. The assets may continue to build value, or a delay may
be warranted when minor children are involved.
What happens if you become incapacitated? Will the trust only activate upon your death or will it also serve as
a "living will?"
How will the trust be managed while you are still alive? Do you wish to have the ability to alter the trust or is it more advantageous
to create an irrevocable trust instead?
Establishing a trust means matching the assets and wishes of clients to
the appropriate legal vehicle. This includes determining the best arrangement
to minimize taxes and fees, but there are other, more emotional questions
to think about.
Who will the beneficiaries be? What happens if you cannot manage your affairs? Will a medical power of attorney resolve this?
What to Expect When Meeting with Me
My primary focus is helping you meet your goals. I do this by setting out
the options available and help you determine which is best in your situation.
This means a confidential, serious conversation about matters which may
be difficult to discuss. It isn't easy to think about your own passing,
but it will be handled in a mature, professional manner.
Privacy is a critical concern and the lawyer-client privilege is important.
In fact, one of the reasons
trusts are used is to avoid having one's personal affairs discussed in open
court during probate. Many people do not realize
their will becomes a public document during probate. Privacy can be protected by using a trust instead, as avoiding family
disputes is one of the benefits.
Some of the decision points I will discuss include:
- How should the trust merge with your overall financial goals?
- Which type of trust is best in your situation to avoid estate and inheritance taxes?
- How will charitable gifts be handled?
- How will the trust be managed and what are the associated costs? Who will
act as trustee?
- Are there special considerations or concerns, such as pets, minor children,
or other purposes? Can these be built into a trust or are there better
ways to accomplish these goals?
My role at the Law Offices of Steven M. Simrin is to smooth what could
otherwise be an overly complex process fraught with emotion. I am an experienced
trust attorney in Oakland and Alameda County, and I counsel and guide
clients in planning and creating a trust that is legally solid, financially
sound, and that serves the intended purpose.
We can discuss all this and more in a free initial consultation. Fill out a
form to schedule one today!