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Protecting Your Assets with a Living Trust

Your Revocable Living Trust is the foundation of your estate plan.  It contains your instructions for your own care and the care of your family if you become disabled, as well as for the distribution of your assets upon your death.

Who needs a Trust in California? Any person who owns real property (a house or any other real estate), has minor children or incapacitated children or has assets with a value of $150,000.00 or more.

A trust starts “living” the moment you execute the document and may continue living after you die.

 

Wills

Everyone still needs a Will.  The Will simply clarifies that your assets are to be distributed according to the terms of your Trust.  It will also indicate that any assets not in your trust at your passing, should “pour” into your Trust at your death.  A Will is only enforceable at your passing, therefore it does not protection if you are ever incapacitated and you need other estate planning documents in place.

Power of Attorney

As an attorney, I believe this is the most important legal document in your estate planning portfolio, in the event you are incapacitated.  In the power of attorney is where you appoint an agent to act for you if you become incapacitated.  Your agent is authorized to transfer property to your Revocable Living Trust, to make withdrawals from your retirement assets, or to do anything else that you want your agent to do for you if you become incapacitated.

You are basically giving your Agent the right to sign your name.  This will allow them to sue on your behalf, do your taxes, withdraw fund from retirement accounts, hire people to take care of you, apply for your government benefits, etc.

Advance Health Care Directives

You will always make your own medical decisions.  However, if you are incapacitated, unresponsive or in a comma, you need to design a health care agent to make medical decisions for you if you cannot express your wishes or make the decisions yourself.  In addition, your Advance Health Care Directive authorizes your agent to obtain copies of your medical records.

Changing your Trust

As your life changes, so might your estate plan. You may need to update your Trust throughout your life. We help your trust stay up to date by creating amendments to the Trust that ensure your goals continue to be met. That is one of the many benefits of having a Trust. It is amendable, revocable or restated at any time. Another benefit of having a Trust is that it can easily move with you from state to state because it is valid in every state.

The Law Offices of Carmen B. Marquez P.C.helps create trusts to ensure that assets are properly managed and held for the future use of their designated beneficiaries. The assets held by a trust can be used to pay for necessary medical, educational and health-related expenses for the trust’s beneficiaries. Because a trust is designed to exist for a certain period of time, the courts require that a trustee is chosen to administer and be responsible for the management of the trust. Sometimes trusts are used to avoid the probate process and/or to minimize estate and income taxes. Your Trust is the main part of your Estate Plan but along with it, you will also need other very important legal documents.

Keeping your Estate Plan Current is VITAL!

Your Estate Plan is not just a set of documents. Just like life changes, so will your estate plan. If there has been a major change in your life make sure you have your plan reviewed to ensure it continues to meet your current needs and goals. Make sure you review it at least ever 2 to 3 years or when there is a major life change such as: Marriage, Divorce, Birth or Death in the Family, Surgery, Incapacity or Moving out of State.

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