Living Trust Attorneys in Napa, California


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Assisting Clients with Asset Protection Strategies

After working hard for years to build wealth, it’s important to find ways to keep your assets safe and in your control for the foreseeable future. You should also have some peace of mind that your family will benefit from all your hard work when you pass away, meaning the assets you wish to leave them will be distributed as quickly as possible. You can get this outcome by putting your house, bank account, and other assets into a living trust.

If you’re unsure how a living trust works or if it’s the right estate planning tool for you, we encourage you to contact Celaya Law for legal guidance. For years, we have helped clients understand and use asset protection tools during the estate planning process, and we can do the same for you when you call our Napa, California law firm.

What Is a Living Trust?

A living trust is a legal arrangement that makes it easy to manage your assets during your lifetime and then transfer them to your beneficiaries when you’re no longer here. To initiate a living trust, you’ll transfer your house, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, and other assets of value to the trust with instructions on how they should be distributed to your heirs when you pass away. 

You also have to choose a trustee to manage your living trust. You can act as your own trustee so you maintain control of the trust for now, but you’ll also need to select a successor trustee to take over this role when you pass away. The successor trustee you choose will be in charge of ensuring the trust assets get to the named beneficiaries as instructed, so it’s important to pick someone you can rely on.

What Are the Advantages of a Living Trust?

Living trusts are one of the most popular estate planning tools because they offer benefits that wills don’t have. An experienced living trust lawyer will explain these advantages to you so you can decide if this is the right tool for your needs.

A major benefit is the ability to avoid probate, a legal process that can be time consuming and expensive for families to go through when a loved one passes away. Any assets you place in a living trust will skip probate and go right to your heirs, while probate is required if you use a last will and testament instead. Another advantage of avoiding probate is the ability to keep the distribution of assets private, since the probate process is a matter of public record. 

Some benefits of living trusts are available before the grantor’s death. For example, parents can add detailed instructions on how and when the trust property should be distributed to their children, allowing them to specify that they must reach a certain age first.

Another benefit is that you can allow your successor trustee to take over the trust if you become incapacitated. In that case, you can give instructions on how to use the money in the trust, such as paying certain bills, healthcare costs, and taxes. So, if having control over your assets during and after your lifetime appeals to you, talk to Napa, California living trust attorneys about this estate planning option.

What Are the Two Main Types of Living Trusts?

One decision you must make as the grantor of a living trust is whether you want a revocable or irrevocable trust. Each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks that your lawyer will explain to you in detail.

The most common option is a revocable trust, which lets you act as the trustee and make changes to the trust when necessary. This makes it easy to change a beneficiary, add or remove assets, name a new trustee successor, and amend the trust rules at any time. So, if you’re looking for a lot of flexibility and control over your living trust, a revocable option may appeal to you. 

By contrast, when you have an irrevocable living trust, you must name someone other than yourself as the trustee. This means you can’t typically make major changes to the trust during your lifetime, as you’re not considered in control of it.

While that can be a downside for some, the advantage is that since the law sees the trustee as the owner, the assets in the trust are protected from creditors and lawsuits. So, if you’re facing a lawsuit or collection efforts from a creditor, you won’t lose the assets in your irrevocable trust. In addition, you could be taxed at a lower rate when the assets are no longer in your name. This is why this type of living trust often appeals to grantors worried about high tax rates, debt collection, or lawsuits.

Do You Need to Hire a Napa, California Living Trust Attorney to Help with Estate Planning?

Living trusts can benefit anyone who wants to ensure their heirs get their rightful inheritance in a timely manner. So, whether you own a business and other valuable assets to pass on to your beneficiaries or don’t want your family to deal with probate, a living trust may be right for you.

When you come to Celaya Law for legal advice on the estate planning process, we’ll go over all your options to help you decide if a living trust makes sense for you. If so, we can help you choose between a revocable and irrevocable trust, select a trustee, and transfer property into the trust. The lawyers at our law office truly care about ensuring clients properly plan for the future, so you can count on us to assist with every step of estate planning. If you’re ready to talk to skilled attorneys, call us at 707-754-0977 for a consultation.

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