Plan For Your Future Tomorrow


Trusts Attorney in Oakland, California

A trust is a vital component of estate planning. It is a strategic move that is designed to safeguard your legacy, protect your hard-earned assets, and provide for your loved ones in the future. However, according to recent statistics, only 34% of Americans have created any type of estate plan. 

Creating a trust offers substantial advantages for effectively managing your estate, such as allowing you to bypass the intricate probate process, minimize estate taxes, and provide financial stability for your beneficiaries. 

At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, located in Oakland, California, I have the experience to help you confidently choose and establish the most suitable trust types for your estate, all while making sure they comply with current California legislation and align with your estate planning goals. 

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What Is a Trust?

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that permits a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts make the process of transferring assets more efficient, whether this occurs while you are alive or after you pass away.  

In California, the variety of trusts available allows for flexibility in estate planning, catering to different objectives depending on individual circumstances. These include: 

  • Testamentary Trusts: Initiated as part of a will, these trusts are activated upon the grantor's death, allowing for asset distribution under the terms defined by the grantor. 

  • Revocable Living Trusts: Amendable during the grantor's lifetime, these trusts are frequently used to avoid probate and manage assets in the event the grantor becomes incapacitated. 

  • Irrevocable Trusts: Once established, these trusts are generally unchangeable and can provide significant benefits in terms of asset protection and estate tax advantages. 

  • Special Needs Trusts: These trusts are designed to benefit disabled or special needs individuals without affecting their eligibility for government assistance. 

  • Charitable Trusts: Tailored for philanthropic interests, these trusts can support charitable causes while also offering potential tax benefits. 

Choosing the right trust involves an in-depth understanding of your assets, family needs, and financial goals. At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I'm committed to guiding you through the selection process to make sure your trust protects your assets and reflects your wishes. 

Differences Between a Trust and a Will

A will and a trust are both effective estate planning tools but serve different purposes and function under different legal mechanisms. 

A will is a legal document that provides instructions for the distribution of assets upon the creator's death. It allows the creator to name guardians for minor children, appoint executors, and delegate specific assets to their beneficiaries. However, wills are required to go through probate, which can often be a lengthy and public process. 

Conversely, a trust offers a range of advantages and permits a more direct and more efficient transfer of assets according to your precise stipulations. Notable benefits of using a trust include: 

  • Probate avoidance 

  • Enhanced privacy 

  • Specific control over asset distribution 

  • Potential asset protection from creditors and divorces 

  • Possible tax advantages 

For a well-rounded estate plan, employing both tools in tandem might be the most effective strategy. With extensive experience in estate planning, I am equipped to advise you on how to integrate trusts and wills to fulfill your estate planning needs. 

How to Create a Trust in California

In California, there are certain steps you will need to take to create a trust to ensure its legality, validity, and alignment with your estate planning goals. The creating process for a trust typically involves the following steps: 

  1. Choose the Right Type of Trust: Identify the most beneficial type(s) of trusts that could be used to effectively manage your estate. The type of trust you choose will depend on your estate size, financial situation, and beneficiaries. 

  1. Select a Trustee: Decide who will manage your trust. This could be the trust creator, a trusted friend or family member, or a professional organization, such as a bank or trust company. Since your trustee will be responsible for the trust, be sure to carefully choose someone trustworthy. 

  1. Define Your Beneficiaries: Clearly determine who will benefit from your trust. This could include immediate and extended family, friends, or charitable organizations. 

  1. Draft the Trust Document: With the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, create a comprehensive trust document that outlines the trust terms, assigns trustees, and specifies the beneficiaries and instructions for asset distribution. For the trust document to be valid, it must be signed by the creator. 

  1. Fund the Trust: For a trust to be effective, you will need to transfer assets into the trust. This could involve transferring real estate, bank accounts, or investment accounts, among other assets. 

Depending on your estate size and specific needs, there may be additional steps involved in creating a trust, such as registering the trust with relevant authorities.

At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I can use my experience to help you through each step and make sure they are all completed correctly. 

Benefits of Creating a Trust

Setting up a trust offers considerable advantages in estate planning. These typically include: 

  • Probate Avoidance: Assets within a trust will directly transfer to the designated beneficiaries without having to go through probate. 

  • Privacy Protection: Unlike probate, which can be time-consuming and open to public scrutiny, trusts operate privately, offering increased privacy when distributing an estate. 

  • Control Over Distribution: Trusts allow you to dictate the terms of asset distribution, which is ideal for establishing guardianship for minors or providing support for beneficiaries who are disabled or who have specific needs. 

  • Asset Protection: Some trusts can be structured to strategically protect your estate from creditors, divorces, or legal actions. 

  • Tax Advantages: Certain trusts can reduce the amount of estate taxes you need to pay, allowing you to maximize the inheritance you leave for your beneficiaries. 

Establishing a trust ensures uninterrupted management of your assets. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a seamless trust that enhances your estate planning goals.

Trusts Attorney Serving Oakland, California 

At the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner in Oakland, California, I understand the importance of safeguarding your assets and ensuring your legacy. Contact me to schedule a free consultation. Located in Oakland, California, I serve clients throughout the Bay Area, including Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville, Rockridge, Piedmont, Fruitvale, Fremont, San Jose, and San Francisco.