Los Altos Estate Planning Lawyers — Funding, Amendments
The attorneys at Kramer Radin, LLP offer comprehensive estate planning services to clients in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and throughout the Peninsula/South Bay Area of Northern California, including assistance with properly funding a trust, Heggstad Petitions, and Amendments and Restatements to trusts.
The Importance of Funding a Trust
An important but often overlooked aspect of estate planning is properly transferring title to assets into a trust. This is often referred to as “funding” the trust. We assist our clients in properly funding their trust with their assets. We prepare deeds and accompanying documents to transfer our clients’ interests in real property into the name of the trust. We provide letters to our clients’ banks and other financial institutions instructing them to transfer title to their account(s) into the trust. We also give instructions for assignment of personal property to the trust.
Some assets, such as life insurance policies and retirement benefit accounts, are contractual in nature and are controlled by beneficiary designations. We review and carefully coordinate your beneficiary designations to ensure that these assets pass to your desired beneficiaries in accordance with your overall estate plan.
Clients often come to us for assistance in the administration of a trust that was improperly funded. During the course of administering the trust, we sometimes discover that assets may have been inadvertently left out of the trust and are still titled in the name of the deceased trustor. When this occurs, under certain circumstances we can assist our clients with what is known as a Heggstad Petition, requesting the probate Court to issue an order declaring the asset as property of the trust. While a Heggstad Petition avoids the full probate administration process and is therefore less costly and time-consuming than the full probate process, the best way to ensure that an asset avoids probate is to properly title it in the name of the trust.
Amendments and Restatements to Trusts
Changes in your personal, family or financial circumstances may impact your estate plan, and recent estate tax changes could also potentially affect your estate plan. We advise our clients to periodically review their estate planning documents and to notify us if their circumstances have changed. We can advise you if a change should be reflected in an update to your estate plan, and we can assist you with preparing amendments and full restatements of your revocable living trust and updating your other estate planning documents.
We welcome the opportunity to serve your estate planning needs. Contact Kramer Radin, LLP to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.