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Top Trust Attorney serving Tiburon, CA. Hess-Verdon & Associates

What does a Trust Attorney Do?

As a Trust Attorney, you focus on how to protect the legacy of a family, i.e., how the estate of a grantor passes to the loved ones (beneficiaries) after death. (Learn about how long a trust can remain open after death)

Within the type of estate planning vehicles that a Trust Attorney have at their disposal, they break into the following:

  1. Will and Last Testament
  2. Trusts

Within each of the two instruments above are a myriad of other protection vehicles. As an example, under the Trust hierarchy can breakdown further into the following:

  1. Revocable Trusts
  2. Irrevocable Trusts

One would wonder which type of Trust is best, and remember, you will never know how good your Trust holds up because once it kicks in for distributing the assets to your family members, you will be deceased. Therefore, it’s essential to work with an experienced estate planning attorney, i.e., Trust Attorney.   

Now, when studying the various types of instruments to protect your estate and pass your legacy to your family, you will want to understand the differences between the advanced estate planning vehicles.  


Below is a breakdown of the advanced estate planning with links to the actual page that will get into detail on each topic.


Tiburon, CA. Estate Attorneys Near Me

Hess-Verdon is in Newport Beach. We have 30 years’ experience in estate planning law. We have helped many clients protect their estate, grow their estate, and pass it down to their loved ones through various legal instruments.

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is an irrevocable trust, meaning it cannot be modified or terminated without the beneficiary’s permission.

A CRT is a tax-exempt trust designed to assist you in reducing the taxable income of the individual. It is designed to disperse income to the beneficiaries for a specific amount of time (no more than 20 years) and then donating the remainder of the Trust to the designated charity (IRS-approved).

Learn more about charitable remainder trusts.

Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT)

A CRUT makes annual payments to beneficiaries during the life of the donor, and when they die, the remainder of the trust goes to a charitable cause. The payment to beneficiaries is calculated as a fixed percentage of the assets reaming in the trust. During the trust’s lifetime, the owner can top up the assets as he/she pleases.

There are various charitable remainder unitrusts, including a standard unitrust, a net income Unitrust, and a Flip Unitrust. The payment to beneficiaries depends on the type of CRUT created.

Learn more about charitable remainder unitrust.

Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

A GRAT (Grantor-Retained Annuity Trust) is an advanced estate planning practices and procedures that can help safeguard your wealth. One of these is the Grantor-Retained Annuity Trust, a financial instrument used to eliminate or minimize taxes on inheritable estates and assets. This kind of estate planning transcends the average and obvious tasks of will execution and living trust management to include estate/asset protection for many years. Learn more on Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts.


What is a QTIP trust?

A QTIP trust is an estate planning tool that empowers you to provide income for your surviving spouse and eventually pass on the estate to your chosen beneficiaries. In most cases, QTIP beneficiaries are children from your first marriage.

While a QTIP trust ensures that your loved ones are taken care of, it also reduces estate taxes. QTIP assets are not taxed; they enjoy the same marital deductions as any other marital trust.

Learn more about qualified terminable interest property (QTIP)

Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT)

An Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust is a hybrid trust with similar benefits to both a revocable and irrevocable trust. It is the best of both worlds.

It is a vehicle for tax-free wealth transfer. The term “defective” in IDGT implies that the irrevocable Trust contains similar elements to a revocable trust. For one, all Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts should include a provision that requires you (the grantor) to continue paying income tax on the Trust until the end of your life.

Learn more about Intential Defective Grantor Trusts


From the name, a SLAT is an unchangeable trust where one marriage partner makes a gift into a trust to benefit their spouse (and family members). In the process, the assets are removed from their joined estates.

The husband can choose to finance a SLAT for the benefit of the wife or vice versa. 

Learn more about Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts


A qualified personal residence trust is the irrevocable Trust for your residence. It serves two purposes. It helps you remove the home from your estate to reduce or eliminate estate and gift taxes. It also helps to transfer the property to a beneficiary to avoid probate. 

Once created, the terms of a QPRT are unchangeable. Even so, you continue to live in residence for a specified length of time in the trust terms. You have retained an interest in the house. Upon the expiry of the period, the remaining interest is passed on to your beneficiary tax-free.

Learn more about qualified personal residence trusts

Dynasty Trust | Legacy Trust

legacy trust vs. a dynasty trust means the same thing. It’s an irrevocable trust that allows wealthy families to keep their money in the family for many generations skipping transfer taxes, such as gift tax, estate tax or generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT) for as long as assets remain in the trust.

Learn more about Dynasty Trusts | Legacy Trusts

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT)

An ILIT is an estate planning wealth management tool that is specifically drafted to own a life insurance policy or policies.  The ILIT is irrevocable and once set up, cannot be changed.  Designed to reduce estate tax while creating the ability to pass on the insurance proceeds to heirs and beneficiaries.

The main purpose of an irrevocable life insurance trust is to eliminate estate taxes by moving or purchasing life insurance in the name of the ILIT and thus avoid federal income tax.

Learn more about Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)

Charitable Lead Trusts (CLT)

The grantor is the individual that establishes the trust. He/she contributes or funds the trust set up to operate within a specified number of years. The charity is the appointed philanthropic organization named in the trust. The “lead” means the interest (from the trust’s assets) payable to the charity for the specified term. 

Learn more about Charitable Lead Trusts (CLT)

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Trust & Estate Litigation

Estate Planning & Advanced Top Trust And Estate Planning Attorney Serving Tiburon, California Estate Planning

An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you plan your estate; they will look into your financial situation, family needs and advise on a suitable plan. They will also help with the preparation of documents to protect your assets against taxes and lawsuits. These include titles, last will and testament, power of attorney, advance directives, and living will and trusts. 

Top Trust And Estate Planning Attorney Serving Tiburon, California

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Other Types:


Types of Trusts one can Choose
Top Trust And Estate Planning Attorney Serving Tiburon, California

Learning Center: How a Trust Attorney Can Protect Your Legal Rights


What are some reasons a family trust can be contested?

A Family Trust, which includes a revocable and irrevocable Trusts are contestable. When the Successor Trustee has taken over, there is an allotted time that beneficiaries have to contest the Trust. Make sure you are within your time limits to fight the Trust. A Trust Attorney can help you, at a minimum, understand your next few steps. It’s highly advisable to be “reasonable” throughout the process to ensure you stay on the right side of the courts. 

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