Funding your revocable trust is a fundamental part of the trust-making process, a part that often gets overlooked.
A trust, in and of itself, is little more than a vehicle through which your assets can pass to your beneficiaries after your death (while at the same time avoiding probate). In a sense it is like a bucket: a container that alone is largely useless, but when filled becomes incredibly useful. Like a bucket, your trust needs to be filled with your assets in order for it to effectively govern where they go after your death.
How do you fill your trust? By funding it.
Funding can be a tedious and often complicated process. Houses and bank accounts must be retitled in the name of the trust. In other cases, such as with Life Insurance, the name of the trust must be made beneficiary of the account. It requires work with the various institutions that govern each piece of property, and can vary in terms of execution. Unfortunately, revocable trusts created by attorneys and individuals are often left completely unfunded. As a result, the trusts are rendered useless, and at the death of the respective grantors the entirety of their estates will have to pass through probate.
If you have a trust that has not been funded, begin the process right away, employing the help of trusted professionals. If you have not yet created your trust, we suggesting finding an estate planning attorney that will help you with the funding process, in addition to creating your trust document.
Consider contacting the estate planning and living will and trust attorneys at Celaya Law today to schedule an appointment to get your documents in order.
Are you looking to start building your trust plan but have a few unanswered questions? We have answered a few general FAQ’s below that might help put your mind at ease a little about trustee’s.
Who should I choose as my trustee?
When you choose a trustee, you should consider first and foremost your trust in that person. They will be handling the administration of your estate to its respective inheritors–do you trust them to do this according to your instructions? Any person for which you can answer this question in the affirmative would be an appropriate choice. This person is typically a family member or a very close friend. It may be prudent to choose a beneficiary as trustee, as such may simplify the process and put the power of distribution in the hands of the beneficiaries. That being said, in many family situations it is wiser to place a third, uninterested party in that position.
Take note that a trustee serves in a fiduciary role. This means that they are legally obligated to administer the trust according to the instructions written, and according to the best interest of the beneficiaries. Anyone who does not administer in such a manner can be held accountable before the court.
What if you have children you aren’t comfortable putting in that position, or what if they are still too young?
As mentioned above, a third party in the form of a trusted friend or family member can easily and effectively administer the trust to your beneficiaries without any interference on their part.
What if I change my mind later?
Revocable living Trusts are just that–revocable. You as the grantor of your trust can choose to make changes at anytime during your life, including who your chosen successor trustee is.
What if I want more than one person to serve?
One of the great benefits of a trust is the incredible amount of flexibility it offers to accommodate a nearly infinite amount of situations. In this case there are several options. You can—and should—build a list of succession. It is always important to have alternate successor trustees if your chosen trustee is unable or unwilling to act in their position. Building a list of succession allows you to include the names of more than one person, and provide for their intervention if required. You can also provide for more than one trustee to work together as co-successor trustees.
How can I be sure my trustee will know what to do?
Although they are not required to do so, it is advisable that they seek assistance from an attorney. The process of administration can be complicated, and the failure to complete the often inconspicuous steps can lead to undesirable consequences for the beneficiaries. If possible, it is often a good idea to reconnect with the firm that originally drafted the trust.
What should my successor trustee know now?
The most important things for your named Successor Trustee to know are first, that they have been named in that position; second, where they can access the trust when it is finally needed; and third, if applicable, the contact information of the estate planning attorney that drafted the trust.
Let the trusted estate lawyers at Celaya Law help answer any additional questions you might have.
Sometimes even the most meticulous planners fall victim to unexpected circumstances. While a living will and trust can be an effective tool used to avoid probate, some people find themselves unable to keep these tools updated. With each large purchase, new family member, or boom in the family business, living wills and trusts need to adapt. A revocable trust can account for these inevitable changes in family/financial dynamic and help you and your family to avoid the lengthy process of probate. Yes, probate can still be necessary even if only a few of your assets are unaccounted for.
One client we had here at Celaya Law had created their trust about five years before we met them and decided to refinance their home. The lender required the property be transferred out of their trust and into their individual name in order for the refinance to go through (some lenders require this) and the client forgot to transfer the property back into the trust. Unfortunately, the client passed away and the property had to go through probate because it was in the client’s individual name and not in their trust. We see this quite often as estate planning attorneys!
Reach out now to an estate planning attorney at Celaya Law for help creating a revocable trust. We can make sure you don’t have to endure the problems of probate!
We recently took time to consider those valiant brothers and sisters who gave their lives defending our freedom. Our hearts are turned not only to them but also to their families in this season of gratitude and honoring. Having a military spouse or parent poses unique challenges in the event of a tragedy: military families can move around frequently, estate planning costs can appear unrealistic, and parents may be separated for lengthy periods of time.
While the military often provides estate planning resources, they are usually rudimentary. Also, the life insurance and compensation offered by the military can be insufficient for a family’s needs. Taking the time to properly develop a living trust can save military families from a great deal of suffering. Whether they are moving across the sea or just to a neighboring state, these families will want to consider a revision of their living trusts, wills, and/or power of attorneys.
Our estate planners can help navigate these issues and provide the best security for your family’s future. Click here to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
Some of the first images that come to mind when you hear the words “will” or “estate” may be elderly couples, mansions, or vast amounts of land. Rarely does one think these things will become pertinent before the age of 45. The truth is, estate planning can be important much earlier in life! Millennials have a few common things to consider when it comes to planning for their estate: homeownership, guardianship, healthcare decisions, etc..
If you have bought a home or purchased a couple acres of land, you are more than qualified to begin the estate planning process. Frankly, any large asset that isn’t included in a will or trust can become an object of divisiveness for your family should something happen to you.
Similarly, your children could be left without a legal guardian (or proper guardianship) unless you specify how and by whom you’d like them to be cared for.
Married and unmarried partners alike run the risk of being kept out of healthcare decisions if they don’t establish a healthcare power of attorney. Preparing for unexpected tragedies can relieve the burden of making decisions amidst grieving and/or adjusting to new family dynamics.
Reach out to an estate planning expert at Celaya Law who can help you decide how to best prepare for your future.
It has become more and more common for people to name Co-Agents in their Power of Attorney documents. Recently, we prepared a Power of Attorney for a client who named her two children as co-agents in her Power of Attorney. After executing the document, the client brought the executed Power of Attorney to her bank to have it added to her account. The bank representative informed her that the financial institution could not accept the Power of Attorney because it named Co-Agents. Had the client not brought the Power of Attorney to her bank when she had capacity, she would not have known that the financial institution would not accept it. If she had lost capacity, that would have been a serious issue! To resolve this issue, we re-drafted the Power of Attorney to name a single Agent and then an alternative Agent. If you have a Power of Attorney that names Co-Agents, you may want to check with your bank to make sure they accept it as a valid legal document.
Let the knowledgeable and trusted attorneys at Celaya Law help you with all of your Attorney needs.
We recently had a client who was named the successor trustee of her uncle’s trust and had the task in administering his Trust. All of the uncle’s assets were in the Trust except for a large bank account with no beneficiary designations. Typically, when a bank account (over $166,250) has no beneficiary designations and not titled in the Trust name, the bank account has to go through probate. In this particular case, we were able to avoid probate altogether, by preparing a Heggstad Petition. A Heggstad Petition is used when an asset is excluded from a deceased person’s Trust. The court is petitioned to transfer the asset (that should have been titled in the name of the Trust, but was not) into the Trust after the decedent has passed away. In our client’s case, we were able to show that there were multiple attempts by the uncle (before his death) and his Agent, in his Power of Attorney to move the bank accounts into trust. In the end, the Heggstad Petition was granted as we were successful in moving the bank account into the uncle’s Trust and also avoid probate!
Contact Celaya Law today and schedule a time to talk with a trusted Probate Attorney. 707-492-3112 or online Here
Though you may be spending your Thanksgiving eating tons of delicious food, watching football, and taking a long tryptophan-induced nap, this may be the perfect time to discuss estate planning and let family members know about your future plans. It’s a time when families get together anyways and though it might not always be lighthearted, families are at least willing to dedicate a certain amount of time together.
It is a good idea to give the family a bit of a warning that a family meeting of some sort will be happening during the holidays, so there is not an element of surprise. Having this discussion will alleviate the possibility of having lingering tension between children rise to the surface after a parent passes away, which often times leads to the estate’s settlement becoming a battle ground.
With a proper discussion amongst family members in which you lay out your specific wishes and desires, your family will be in a better position when you pass away. It is unlikely that you will resolve all issues at the dinner table on Thanksgiving; however, it will allow you and your family to have a calm conversation, which will allow everyone to listen to different perspectives and will also keep the lines of communication open.
Schedule a time to talk to an Estate Lawyer at Celaya Law today and let them help plan for your future.
What is a guardian? A guardian is the adult who is legally responsible for the needs of a minor. In California, you can only become a guardian if you are appointed by the court.
There are two types of guardianship. The first, is guardianship of the person, which means the guardian has custody and responsibility for the minor. The second, is guardianship of the estate, which means the guardian has the legal responsibility to manage the assets of the minor. When a person is appointed as a guardian, he/she has the responsibility of caring for all of the minor’s needs which includes: food, shelter, education, health care, and well-being. The guardian will also be able to make medical decisions concerning the minor. Typically, a guardianship lasts until the minor turns 18.
In order to make sure there are no issues or hiccups in the guardianship process, you want to make sure you hire an estate planning attorney to prepare the necessary guardianship documentation and to guide you through the process. Some good reasons to hire a qualified estate planning attorney is if you think some family member will challenge or contest the guardianship, if the minor stands to inherit a substantial amount of assets at your death, or if the minor is emotionally of physically disabled.
The National Estate Planning Awareness Week is almost upon us! This is a public campaign designed to help people understand why estate planning is so crucial. Often times people avoid planning for their death because the topic is uncomfortable to think about or the discussion with loved ones is too difficult. Another common misconception is that a trust is only for the wealthy, which is not true! If you have assets such as a house, bank accounts, and investment accounts; or have loved ones that depend on you, it’s a good idea to starting thinking about creating an estate plan.
Are you interested in learning what documents are in an estate plan? Contact our experienced attorneys at Celaya Law and we will walk you through the crucial documents that make up an estate plan.