Setting Up a Trust
Posted by Attorney Eric Gullotta on Jul 26, 2013 5:10pm PDT
Setting up a trust is a crucial part of estate planning as it can help you avoid taxes, avoid probate, protect your estate, provide funds for your loved one's educational purposes and benefit charities. One nice thing about a trust is that its terms are private (unlike the terms of a will), which prevents the public from peering into your financial life and the private lives of your family. Nowadays, trusts can even help protect the futures of your pets after you die! While setting up a trust can be extremely beneficial to your beneficiaries, it is pointless if you fail to set one up correctly.
In 2012, I went on the Patti Gribow Show to discuss estate planning and in particular, setting up trusts. I said, "We [Gullotta Law Group] research title to the real property that is going to be put in the trust…one of the things that can go awry is that the trust isn't funded….then you have to do a trust administration and go through probate. The whole point of a living trust is to have an informal administration of an estate, not go through probate or the court system and have a judge have to bless everything that you do…"
There are living trusts and after-death or testamentary trusts. A living trust is one that you set up while you are alive whereas an after-death trust is usually established by a will after an individual's death. There are many kinds of trusts which range from charitable trusts to bypass trusts to life insurance trusts. The two main kinds of trusts are revocable trusts (which can be changed) and irrevocable trusts (which can't be changed). As the creator of a trust you can choose the terms of how you want your assets distributed and to whom.
If you wish to set up a trust, it is imperative that you consult with a competent estate planning attorney who can advise you about trust matters before you make the final decision of which one is right for you. Gullotta Law Group charges a flat fee and I, Attorney Eric Gullota, have 15 years of experience as a CPA with a master's degree in taxation to assist your planning. Contact my office now at 707-509-3880 for a free consultation!