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Forgot to Transfer Assets to Living Trust

What if your parents had a living trust, but one or more of their assets was not titled in the trust when they died. Now what? Will you have to take their estate through probate? You’ve heard about how probate is expensive and time consuming. Is there an alternative? If the value of the assets not in the trust is less than $150,000, then the estate is considered a “small estate” and…

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Taking Care of Your Family

This afternoon I will watch El Dorado Musical Theater's (EDMT's) wonderful production of A Christmas Carol for the sixth time. Yes, my daughter is in the show. It is a fantastic performance based on the Charles Dickens story. It brings to mind what may be Dickens best novel, Bleak House, about years and years of litigation over a will. Two of my lawyer friends are probate and trust litigators. They help family…

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What Is an Estate Plan and Why You Need One – Part 1

An estate plan is simply a set of legal documents that instruct your loved ones how to manage your assets when you pass away, and if you have young children, it identifies the persons you want to raise your children. It also authorizes the persons you choose to manage your assets and make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated. An estate plan can also leverage your assets to reduce…

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A Very Good Christmas Gift – For Yourself

I spend a lot of time teaching my estate planning clients how to avoid probate and how to protect their children's inheritance from divorce and creditor claims. In a nutshell, this is what I tell them: If you establish a living trust and transfer your assets to the trust, your family will not have to experience the hassles and costs of probate when you and your spouse pass away. In addition, we…

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Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer (But She Had a Living Trust) – Now What?

For whatever reason, every year we tend to get a lot of new trust administration clients in November and December. Most people know that if their parent or grandparent had a living trust, they may be able to avoid probate. However, most people don't know what is involved in a trust administration. We've prepared a guide outlining the basic steps to administer a trust.

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Is Your Living Trust Funded?

Although most families have not done their estate planning, many have, and many have established living trusts. The objectives in establishing a living trust are to avoid the high costs and hassles of a California probate and to provide an easy administration of the estate assets. Living trusts are great and will accomplish these objectives – if they are maintained.

Your estate will still go through probate, even if you have a living trust, if you have not transferred your assets to your living trust. We tell our clients to consider their living trust like a container. The trust will only control the assets that have been transferred to the container. If when you die, you left significant assets (real property, bank and investment accounts) outside the container, your loved ones may have to take your estate through probate. Probate is unwelcome to most families because it is expensive and generally takes at least a year in court.

Ask yourself these questions to confirm your assets are in your living trust.

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