Will and Trust Attorney in Ventura
In Ventura County, California, attorney Daniel A. Higson can craft a Will or Trust to direct what happens to your property upon death and help appoint representatives of your own choosing to carry out your demands. He will also help you update these documents periodically at your own discretion. Even those who have a Will or Trust in place need to contemplate whether or not a change needs to be filed due to the following life changes:
- Domestic Partnership or Marriage
- Adoption or Birth of a Child
- Domestic Partnership Dissolution or Divorce
- Joint or individual acquisition of real property or other major assets
- Inheritance or other significant change in financial status
Whether you know it or not, you already have an estate plan provided for you by the State of California. However, chances are that plan will not reflect your actual wishes, and it certainly won’t provide you with ways to minimize or avoid estate and income taxes. Those who pass away without a Will or Trust are in the unfortunate position of having the State determine how their property is distributed among their relatives. In such a case, California State will provide nothing to a domestic partner or other unrecognized beneficiary regardless of how long you were together.
Wills are the most basic tool of estate planning. A Will can be simple or complex, but the important thing is that it clearly reflects your personal priorities, wishes and values. Dan Higson can help you draw up or modify existing Wills that meet your needs and circumstances.
There are two kinds of Trusts: Living Trusts and Testamentary Trusts.
A Living Trust (also called an inter vivos trust) is created by a living person and is effective during the grantor’s lifetime, overseeing assets that have been specified. If the Trust is a Revocable Trust, even after transferring assets into it, the grantor retains full control of the assets and can revoke or change the Trust at any time during his or her life. If it is an Irrevocable Trust, the grantor gives up the ability to change the terms but will typically gain a substantial benefit, such as reducing taxes, obtaining Medicaid coverage for long term care, or protecting assets against outside claims. Property transferred into a Living Trust does not have to go through probate and may be distributed to your beneficiaries or even held in a continuing trust after you are gone.
A Testamentary Trust is established under a Will and does not come into effect until after the grantor’s death. However, in some instances, a Testamentary Trust can accomplish the same goals as a Living Trust without having to transfer assets during one’s lifetime.
Every Trust requires a trustee. For a Living Trust the grantor often serves as the trustee during his or her lifetime. A trustee can be an individual or an institution, such as a financial institution or trust company. A trustee must be carefully chosen in order to protect your needs.
If you are in the Ventura, California area, Will and Trust attorney Dan Higson can advise you regarding whether a trust should be a part of your plan, which type of Trust best suits your needs, and what characteristics to consider when choosing a trustee.