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Revocable Trusts in Estate Planning

Revocable trusts are most commonly used in estate planning to accomplish financial objectives, but there are many other types of trust and each serves a different purpose.

Trusts make it possible for the grantor (you) to specify how your estate is divided when you die. Specifically, one of the greatest benefits to a trust is that it allows beneficiaries to avoid the often drawn-out process of probate.

The following article addresses why revocable trusts are frequently preferred over other options.

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

There are two basic kinds of trusts— revocable and irrevocable. As you might assume, a revocable trust allows the grantor to amend or revoke the trust whenever they choose. They retain control of its assets.

However, an irrevocable trust doesn’t allow for this same room to maneuver. Once an irrevocable trust has been created, those assets no longer owned by the grantor.  

Advantages of a Revocable Trust

A revocable trust is also sometimes known as a living trust. As stated earlier, its terms can be altered. For example, a grantor remains free to remove certain beneficiaries, choose new ones, or even add stipulations determining how assets are used or managed.

Due to the built-in leeway of revocable trusts, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. Although, there are a few disadvantages to consider.

Disadvantages of a Revocable Trust

One disadvantage to a revocable trust is that its assets aren’t protected from creditors the way they would be with an irrevocable trust. This is because the creator of a living trust retains control. For instance, if the grantor faced a lawsuit, it would be vulnerable to liquidation. Another thing to account for is that any assets held in a revocable trust are subject to estate taxes after the grantor dies.

When used knowledgeably, trusts benefit both financial and non-financial goals. For more information on using trusts in your estate plan, please contact our office at (925) 447-1250.

Filed under Estate Planning Tips

What to Consider When Hiring a Probate Attorney

When someone close to you passes away, it’s not necessary to stay with the original attorney who created their will. You may decide to find a new attorney to finalize the legal process. Here are 3 things to consider when hiring a probate attorney.

Credentials: Do Some Digging

When you need a good attorney, it’s time to do some digging. Obviously, you want to hire an attorney with a solid background in probate cases, but also consider whether they have experience in other areas that may be relevant to your situation, like real property law.

You can search online to get a sense for a lawyer’s education and expertise, including law school and years in practice, as well as other biographical details. You may find articles written by the attorney, in addition to former client reviews. Client reviews are especially useful when hiring a probate attorney. Also, the State Bar Association has a website that can tell you if the attorney you’re considering is reputable.  

Scheduling Availability

A good attorney is certain to be busy, but if it’s a struggle to schedule an appointment, or receive timely responses, it’s best to take your business elsewhere. Another thing to pay attention to is how well the attorney listens, and whether or not they’re responsive to your concerns.

Communication

Choose an attorney who takes the time to explain things clearly. It’s important that you fully understand the legal process in order to make the best decisions. A good attorney will respect your efforts to educate yourself, and clarify things that confuse you. When hiring a probate attorney, jot down a list of questions so you don’t forget anything you wanted to ask.

It’s important that you’re comfortable with the attorney you hire. These points should help you with the screening process. Contact us at Lewman Law to find out if we’re the right fit for you.

Filed under Legal Services, Probate Tips