Most people are intimidated by the words “trust” or “trust fund.” It is often assumed that only people “with lots of money” need to utilize the legal entity known as a trust. In reality, there are several types of trusts and most can be used as part of an overall estate plan for many people at all income levels.

What is a Trust?

Simply stated, trusts are legal entities that hold title to property for the benefit of another. A trustee manages the property for the sake of the beneficiaries. In some cases, the person who establishes the trust (the maker) can also be the trustee and the beneficiary during his or her lifetime.

What can a trust do?

Trusts are extremely flexible legal entities that can be written to fit you and your family’s specific needs. From an estate planning perspective, a trust may help you do one or more of the following:

  • Avoid probate
  • Reduce or avoid estate taxes
  • Uphold confidentiality as trust are not subject to probate
  • Protect your assets from irresponsible family members or creditors
  • Plan for your incapacity

What are the different types of trust?

A trust must contain specific provisions in order to be legally enforceable. Therefore it is imperative that you work with a professional and experienced estate planning attorney in order to set up a valid trust. After carefully discussing your goals with your Castro valley estate planning lawyer you will determine what type of trust is right for you. The following are a short list of some of the types of trust your attorney may recommend for you:
1.Revocable trust – a trust that may be modified or amended during the maker’s lifetime.
2.Irrevocable trust – a trust that may not be modified or amended by the maker without permission from each beneficiary.
3.Living trust – a trust that acts as a Will substitute. Your assets are placed in the trust, administered for your benefit while you are alive and then transferred to your beneficiaries upon your death.
4.Special Needs trusts – a trust that allows someone who is eligible for public benefit programs (such as Medicaid and SSI) to remain eligible while also benefitting from another, separate fund
5.Charitable trusts– a type of irrevocable trust that allows you to donate to charity with considerable tax advantages
Our attorneys will help you determine if a trust if right for you. If so, they will be able to properly draft and execute the trust to confirm its enforceability. Contact us today in order to schedule a time to sit down with one of our Castro valley living trust attorney to discuss a trust as a part of your total estate plan.