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Understanding And Utilizing The Power Of Trusts

Trusts that can be used in a myriad of ways depending on the specific individual needs of the estate owner. The primary benefit of the Trust however, is avoiding probate.  The Trust also allows for the most flexible, efficient estate design possible.  Trusts can allow you to obtain tax advantages through charitable remainder trusts and other benefits through ILIT’s and other trust types.

The Law Offices of Richard A. Lewis provide comprehensive estate planning solutions, which include the incorporation of a range of trusts. The goal of our Sacramento, California law firm is to help safeguard your assets, protect your legacy and protect your beneficiaries against the expensive and time-consuming probate process.  We have the knowledge required to fully explain your options and to recommend the specific solutions that will work for your individual situation and goals. We also have the ability to carry out those solutions effectively and efficiently.

The Problems With Probate

Probate is the legal vehicle the court uses to distribute property from a deceased person to his or her heirs.  Whether the heirs are identified in a Will or the person dies intestate (without a Will), probate can be problematic for several reasons.

  • Heirs are rarely engaged in the estate planning process, often making the provisions set out by the will a surprise to them.  Surprises can lead to litigation.
  • The probate process is handled through the courts – and everything associated with probate becomes public record. Trusts usually only require assistance from a lawyer for administration.
  • The probate process is very time-consuming, as the personal representative must distribute property, identify all creditors and settle all debts with court approval.  Court approval is time consuming and frustrating.
  • It is a burdensome process for the personal representative, who is responsible for all the accounting, filing and searches for possible beneficiaries.  The usual compensation is not sufficient for the amount of work involved.
  • Extraordinary fees are almost always involved, particularly with selling or re-titling property. A $500K estate, for example may cost $30K or more to probate.  On the other hand, the administration would be much less.
  • Errors can be catastrophic, particularly in terms of drawn-out legal disputes between heirs and tax problems.  You also won’t be surprised to learn that the IRS monitors every probate in the United States.

As your attorney, Mr. Lewis will work with you to develop a tailored plan that utilizes the trusts you need to meet the goals of your estate. He understands the power of trusts and the particular nuances of each option.  Whether your goal is to help your beneficiaries avoid probate or obtain tax benefits, Mr. Lewis will listen to your instructions, advise you on how to effect your plan, and then execute that plan.

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