Frequently Asked Questions
Kramer Radin, LLP assists clients throughout Santa Clara County and the Peninsula/South Bay Area with a range of trust, estate and probate matters. The firm provides the following answers to frequently asked questions as a resource for clients and others seeking general information about estate planning. This information is provided by Kramer Radin, LLP, only for general information. Opinions and positions stated are for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended, and should not be construed, as a specific recommendation or as legal or tax advice. Individuals should contact a tax advisor or attorney to answer questions about their specific situation or needs before acting upon this information. For further information, see our estate planning or probate pages. To consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, contact Kramer Radin, LLP today.
What are the advantages of a living trust over a simple will?
A living trust provides a plan for the management of the assets held in the trust. In the event you become incapacitated, the person(s) specified in your trust as successor trustee(s) will assume the management of the trust assets on your behalf. Upon your death, the assets held in the living trust will be distributed to the beneficiaries of your trust, in the manner set forth in the trust, without having to pass through the probate administration process.
How does a living trust work?
A living trust is a document which you create during your lifetime which allows you to specify who will manage the assets of the trust (the “successor trustee”) and who will receive the assets of the trust (the trust “beneficiaries”) after your death. During your lifetime, you are both the trustee and the beneficiary of the trust, ensuring that you still have complete use and control over your assets. As the name implies, you can revoke the trust or make changes to the provisions of the trust during your lifetime.
In order to effectively avoid probate, title to your assets must be properly transferred to the trust. This important but often overlooked step in the estate planning process is referred to as “funding” the trust.
What other documents should I consider including in my estate plan?
As part of a comprehensive estate plan, the attorneys at Kramer Radin, LLP may recommend a durable power of attorney for financial matters, which allows you to designate a person or persons to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. Our estate planning lawyers may also recommend an advance health care directive, which will allow you to specify your wishes regarding your health care and end-of-life decisions, and appoint someone to carry out your wishes.
For answers to your questions regarding estate planning, contact Kramer Radin, LLP.