California Guide to Trust and Estates
Trust and Estates – What You Should Know!
How to Find a Highly Recommended Trust and Estates Attorney
and what to consider when choosing your law firm.
Your Orange County Trust & Estates Attorneys
Choosing the Right Trust and Estates Law firm is Paramount
By educating yourself upfront and understanding the different methods of financial protection vehicles, you can save yourself a ton of time and headaches.
So let’s get started!
What is an estate?
Stated, an estate is what you own and control. If you own a car, a home, bank accounts, art collection, etc., you can consider them part of your estate. Therefore, you may elect to protect your “estate” via a will or a trust, i.e., via an estate plan.
There are three categories for an estate:
- Gross Estate
- Residue Estate
- Estate Debt
Why use Hess-Verdon & Associates?
Hess-Verdon & Associates, A Professional Law Corp. is a full-service law firm, established in 1990. The firm’s founding principles and its dedication to a proven philosophy of client-centered service have remained unchanged.
Our Trust and Estates practice provides legal services in 3 distinct areas.
Should you need advanced estate planning advice, a Hess-Verdon attorney is available to guide you.
If someone dies intestate, i.e., without a Will, then you will enter into the California probate process.
We recently handled a case where a mom added her daughter to her accounts to help with bill paying. Her son assured all was correct, continued his day-to-day activities. Mom died in 2019, making the son the successor trustee. All of the accounts have, “Transfer on Death” (TOD) designation, and go to the daughter outside of the Trust.
The daughter refuses to split those equally because she feels that she deserved them for taking care of their mother.
Issues like this happen more often than you think.
Our probate attorneys are well versed to help mitigate loss, ensuring a cost effective and smooth process.
Serving State: California, Southern California
Serving cities: Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, Santa Ana, Anaheim, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Buena Park, Fullerton, Orange, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Garden Grove, Tustin, Yorba Linda, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Dana Point, Rancho Santa Margarita, North Tustin, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Villa Park, Ladera Ranch, Placentia, Laguna Woods, Aliso Viejo, Coto De Caza, State of California
We are a Top Trust & Estate Law Firm in Orange County
We are here to bring Peace of Mind!
Competent, Aggressive Legal Representation, Well Established
Get Smart & Strategic Legal Advice. Your loved ones deserve it!
What is a trust?
Trusts break down into two distinct camps: Revocable Trust vs. Irrevocable Trust. You may have also heard of a living trust and testamentary trusts. Both of these trusts have multiple sub-trust categories. The Trust is a capable vehicle for protecting, preserving, and passing on wealth in the event of a death or legal incapacitation. It allows you to select your trustee(s) and assist you in granting to heirs and beneficiaries in an orderly fashion.
Protecting your family’s wealth is the goal of a Trust. Moreover, selecting the correct type of Trust is paramount for a long term litigation free outcome.
How does a will or Trust protect your estate?
A trust and a will are estate plans. The sole purpose is preserving and transferring assets from generation to another by minimizing disputes or confusion between the family. Several documents make up a trust. These documents will direct a trustee when the person dies or becomes legally incapacitated.
If you have a Trust, then:
- When was it last updated?
- Is the deed to your home in the Trust name?
- Are all your properties in the Trust titled correctly?
- Have the laws changed since you last updated?
- Does your family know where to find all your financial records, titles, and insurance policies should something happen to you?
If you need a Trust review, please call our office at 949-706-7300.
Schedule an appointment today. Our specialized team is ready to assist you.
Why Hess-Verdon? Here are three reasons to choose our law firm.
- Putting Clients First
- Experienced Lawyers
- Cost-Effective legal service delivered on time
Our estate planning services include counseling clients and the preparation of wills, revocable living trusts, living wills, and power of attorney documents for health care. We have assisted families in dealing with family legal issues affecting seniors and disabled children or family members with special needs.
We implement the following:
- Living Trusts
- Insurance Trusts
- Dynasty Trusts
- Family Partnerships
- Personal Residence Trusts
- Charitable trusts and other estate planning documents to effectuate our client’s goals.
The most common response from our clients is peace of mind. (See our testimonials)
We also provide legal services in the administration of trusts. The loss of a loved one is a traumatic event. Making financial and legal decisions while grieving is complicated and stressful. We make the process of probate and trust administration as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
Trust and Estates Attorney Near Me
Serving State: California, Southern California
Serving Cities: Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, Santa Ana, Anaheim, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Buena Park, Fullerton, Orange, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Garden Grove, Tustin, Yorba Linda, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Dana Point, Rancho Santa Margarita, North Tustin, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Villa Park, Ladera Ranch, Placentia, Laguna Woods, Aliso Viejo, Coto De Caza, State of California
Which type of Trust is most prevalent?
In percentage, the revocable Trust is by far the most popular type. The irrevocable trusts are typically for special needs trust, Charitable Remainder Trusts, and when leaving a portion to children’s needs.
What are the advantages of having a trust?
The advantage of having a trust is how it protects and preserve family wealth. Die without a trust or will, you die “intestate,” meaning the court will decide. California Probate has high fees.
Probate is the following:
- It can be expensive
- It takes time
- Your family has no privacy
- Your family has no control
Learn more about “California probate fees” here.
Dying without a Will or Trust will give the power to the courts to decide. The judge will decide as to who the trustee is and their method of administering the Trust (Trust Administration)
At Hess-Verdon, we provide legal services in the administration of probate and trust estates. The loss of a loved one is a traumatic event. Making financial and legal decisions while grieving is complicated and stressful. We make the process of probate and trust administration as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
When probate is required, these services typically involve the preparation of court filings, including petitions for appointment of executor’s inventories of assets, motions, settlements, and accounting, and requests for distributions.
With over 29 years of invaluable estate and trust administration experience, we continuously strive to successfully resolve matters for our clients, even in the most difficult of times and circumstances.
To discuss your situation, to meet with us, or to get your questions answered, contact us.
See our Client Quotes to see what our clients have said about our firm’s quality and dedication personally and professionally.
To discuss your situation, to meet with us or to get your questions answered.
Why should I choose one type of living Trust over another?
A trust should be specific to your situation. Here at Hess-Verdon, we will take our time to let you know the best course of action. We gladly give a second opinion. Many times, we have been able to assist our preferred clients with many more options.
(See our testimonial)
Below are several types of trusts that clients utilize:
- Living Trust: (family trusts)
- Revocable Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Testamentary Trusts
- Qualified Terminable Interest Property (Q-TIP) Trusts
- Special needs trusts for disabled beneficiaries
- Generation-skipping trusts
- Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRT)
- Pet Trusts
- Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT)
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT)
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRAT)
Note: If you have an outdated trust with A/B provisions, you should see an estate lawyer to update your Trust and minimize trust administration expense.
Why review your Trust every 2-3 years, if not sooner?
Quite directly, changes in the tax code could affect your estate. By reviewing within 2-3 years, you may have a reliable trust document that is up-to-date with the latest tax laws and, most importantly, an updated reflection of your current situation.
The bottom line, consider your revocable living trust as your wealth management main document.
What are the negatives of an irrevocable trust?
If you had to pick a negative, it’s that the Trust can no longer be changed, unlike the revocable Trust.
Here is a list of disadvantages:
- Loss of control. Once established, you lose legal ownership of the trust property.
- Separate taxation: Is a separate taxable entity
- Gift tax
- Income tax rates
Please consult an attorney regarding your specific situation.
Probate and Trust Administration
We also provide legal services in the administration of probate and Trust Estates. The loss of a loved one is a traumatic event. Making financial and legal decisions while grieving is complicated and stressful. At Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC, we make the process of Probate and Trust administration as streamlined and pain-free as possible.
When probate is required, these services typically involve the preparation of court filings, including petitions for appointment of executors/guardians/ conservators, inventories of assets, motions, settlements/accounting, and requests for distributions. Also, we represent individuals as trustees or as individual beneficiaries in adversarial court proceedings involving inheritance disputes. We help prepare federal estate tax returns for Estates and Trusts.
Litigation – Dispute Resolution
Ancillary to these litigation and administration services, we provide estate planning services to clients. Litigation often requires the attorney to reconcile zealous, aggressive advocacy with potentially volatile intra-family dynamics. Probate and Trust litigation involves a balancing of sensitivity to family relationships and an aggressive approach to litigation, which depends on the particular client’s situation.
The attorneys at Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC represent corporate and individual trustees, charitable organizations, and individual, beneficiaries in Estate and Trust litigation matters, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Will Contests
- Trust Contests
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty Cases
- Discovery of Asset Claims Guardian/Conservatorship Proceedings
- Determination of Heirship Proceedings
- Suits for an Accounting
The firm’s highest compliment is when clients who have been through complicated probate or trust litigation cases return to the firm. They return to plan their estate so that their families can avoid those battles and difficulties. Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC knows how to prevent the issues that can destroy a family and its wealth.
If I under $150,000.00 in my total estate, what should I do?
According to California law, there is a simple process through the probate court to transfer assets under $150,000.00. To learn more, see small estate without administration.
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From day 1 we will work diligently and provide experienced legal counsel. Simply fill out the form below, and our litigation team will call you to discuss. Thank you.