As there are so many matters that need to be taken into consideration in estate planning, there is not one simple measure that will meet all of an individual’s estate planning needs. Therefore, when helping out clients in estate planning matters, attorneys will often use a variety of tools. This can include wills, trusts, documents that concern incapacity (such as an advance health care directive) and powers of attorney for finances.
We cannot rely on one document alone for estate planning such as a living trust. Though a living trust is invaluable for operation in the event of disability, for the avoidance of assets going through probate or for the minimizing of estate taxes, it is a mistake to conclude that such a trust alone will accomplish everything that we desire.
A trust does require the meeting of a number of legal requirements. It is particularly important to note that every state handles the administration of trusts differently. This is especially true when it comes to laws regarding the preservation and/or distribution of assets at the time of death. It is also true regarding taxes that one’s heirs may have to pay.
Unfortunately, not all attorneys appreciate the complexity of this process. Some attorneys will leave it up to the client to transfer assets correctly without making it clear the exact legal steps that need to be taken. At our firm, we guide the client through the trust funding process. California residents with questions concerning estate planning will need to speak to an attorney licensed to practice law in California with experience in trust and estate matters.
Source: Fox Business, “Documents that Should be Part of Everyone’s Estate Plans,” Andrea Murad, Sep. 4, 2013