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Sacramento Estate Planning Lawyer: Trusts

A trust is private, efficient and minimizes taxation. Assets placed in a living trust may transfer automatically upon the death of the original owner, passing to the spouse, children or other heirs without going through the public process of probate. A trust is commonly included in an estate plan as an asset preservation strategy in the face of estate taxes and the rising costs of probate.

A well-written trust will be clear and flexible. In 30 years of practice, I have helped individual clients modify trusts and wills as each client moved from one stage of life to another. However, these periodic updates may not be enough. As your attorney, I will create your trust in a way that clearly states how the trust should be administered in the event of foreseeable changes in circumstances before your death or disability.

Common types of trusts include:

  • A-B trusts, also called bypass trusts, survivor trusts, A trusts (marital trusts), B trusts (family trusts) and credit shelter trusts minimize federal estate taxes on a married couple's combined estate. Property automatically transfers to one spouse upon the death of the other.
  • Homes, personal property, businesses, stocks, mutual funds, and bank accounts can be transferred into a living trust, also known as a revocable or inter vivos trust during your lifetime (a process called funding the trust), to avoid probate, provide for the smooth transfer to heirs upon your death and avoid a court-appointed conservatorship in the event of your incapacity.
  • Domestic partnerships do not have federal recognition, but a lawyer can draft a standard two-person trust to provide for the transfer of assets.

Should I have a trust? Maybe. Many single or married people need only a simple will, living will and durable power of attorney to complete their estate plan. As your attorney, I will evaluate your goals and resources, consult with your CPA if needed, and help you determine whether the modest investment in a trust is appropriate in your situation.

If you would like to discuss representation or have another question about my firm, please call (916) 248-4465 or e-mail my Sacramento, California, office to arrange a consultation.

Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law

My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.