Estate planning is often assumed to be something that only wealthy individuals need to do. However, this assumption is simply not true. For some California families, estate planning can be as simple as creating a will; for others, trusts are the preferred method when it comes to how to transfer assets.
Establishing a trust can be a fairly simple thing to do. First, assets are transferred to the trustee. This trustee then manages the assets on behalf of the beneficiary. Finally, the trustee manages the assets and then distributes them to the beneficiaries based upon the grantor’s instructions.
Trusts are especially useful in providing for the spouse in a second marriage but also taking care of children from the first. For example, a trust could be established to take care of the spouse for the remainder of his or her life. Then, once that individual dies, the assets could then be passed on to the children.
A trust can also be established to take care of children and grandchildren. Assets can be placed into the trust and then made available to the beneficiary at an appointed time. Many parents and grandparents use trusts that become available once the beneficiary reaches a certain age, graduates from college, gets married or some other such milestone.
Many California families are beginning to recognize the need for estate planning. It is the only way to be certain that one’s wishes are followed and assets are protected. Experienced legal counsel can be beneficial in helping one determine the appropriate method to transfer assets based upon the specific circumstances.
Source: herald-review.com, “The ABCs of trusts“, Feb. 21, 2017