Williamson & Gentilini
Attorneys at Law
1945 Palo Verde Ave., #101
Long Beach, CA 90815
Do I Need a Living Trust?
In the very simplest terms, if
you own real estate or have children, you should probably have a
living trust in your estate planning.
Living trusts are designed
to pass your assets to loved-ones with minimal complications and
expense. Even if all you own is your home, a living trust is
usually recommended. In fact, it is very common that the primary
asset of a trust is the family home. When it comes to any type
of real estate assets, there simply is no better estate planning
device than the living trust.
If you own no real estate
and have less than $100,000 in assets, the cost and time
invested in creating a living trust may not be worthwhile.
Nevertheless, some estate planning is still essential. Keep in
mind that estate planning is much more than just a living trust.
It also includes the following documents that every person
should have regardless of the size of their estate:
- Springing Durable Power of Attorney for
The purpose of this document is for you to name a person,
usually a spouse or loved one, that you authorize to conduct
your affairs should you become incapacitated or otherwise
unable to handle your affairs yourself. As the title implies,
the "power" granted to the person named "springs to life" only
in the event of your incapacity.
- Advance Health Care Directive
Like the Power of Attorney for Business Affairs, the purpose
of this document is for you to name a person, usually a spouse
or loved one, that you authorize to make medical decision on
your behalf should you become incapacitated or otherwise
unable to make your own decisions. Again, the "power" granted
to the person named "springs to life" only in the event of
your incapacity. Another function of the Advance Health Care
Directive is to provide your instructions regarding the
withdrawal of treatment and/or the ending of your life if you
are irreversibly terminal or brain-dead.
- Nomination of Conservator
If you should become incapacitated and the court appointment
of a conservator is necessary, this document provides the
court your wishes as to who should be appointed.
- Nomination of Guardian for Minor
Children (where applicable)
In situations where the appointment of a guardian for minor
children become necessary, this document instructs the court
who to appoint.
Before going any further, deciding whether you need a Living
Trust involves asking yourself the following questions...
Do you want to
Do you want to
provide an easier estate transition for your family and loved
Do you have minor
Do you wish to
avoid the risk of conservatorship?
Do you wish to
minimize estate taxes where possible?
Do you need to
provide protection for a handicapped child or disabled relative?
Do you or your
spouse plan to leave an inheritance to children from a prior
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, a Living
Trust may be a wise decision for you.