In California, a Living Trust allows property to change ownership to beneficiaries without going through Probate. A Living Trust is very important if you own property in California.  Without a Living Trust, property that is valued at more than $100,000 would need to go through a Probate which is costly and time consuming.  A standard property worth $250,000 in California would have a Probate legal fee of approximately $8,000, plus additional administration costs and could take 7 months or more to complete!  Compare this to a flat fee of $699 for a Living Trust and you can readily see that a Trust is a better option than a Probate!

Here are some terms that are important to know:

  1. The term ‘settlor’ refers to the person(s) who wish to create the Trust.
  2. The term ‘trustee’ refers to the person(s) who controls the trust.
  3. The term ‘successor trustee’ refers to the person(s) who is named to comply with the terms of the Trust once the settlor, who is usually the Trustee,  has passed away.

People are often confused about the role of the ‘successor trustee’.  They think that this person may have control over the Trust when the settlor is still alive.  This is not so.  Remember, the purpose of the Trust is to avoid Probate for beneficiaries and to make sure that your wishes are followed when you pass away.  The successor trustee(s) only has a role once the settlor, who is usually the Trustee, passes away.  Properties that are in the Trust may be removed or added back as needed when buying, selling or refinancing.

Some people confuse a Living Trust with a ‘trust fund’ and these are not the same. A trust fund is usually set up with the bank and is associated with money being left in trust to a person.

It is best to get legal advice from a Trust Attorney or Estate Planning Lawyer so that you know your legal options.  In most cases a generic Trust from a document service will not fit your unique situation and may cause problems for your heirs.  Don’t take the chance!  For the same fee or a little higher–consult with an Attorney who will do it right!

Legal Action Workshop can prepare your Trust for as little as $675.  Give us a call @ 800-HELP-444 (800-435-7444)  or visit us at .

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