As a trusted Estate-Planning Attorney in Walnut Creek, I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about trusts. You worked very hard for your assets, and it’s crucial that you take the time to designate how you want your assets designated to your beneficiaries. Preparing in advance will eliminate the hassles, expenses, and red tape that can go along with not having a trust.
Redefining What a Trust Is
- A trust is a legal document that ensures how assets and finances are held for an individual or individuals. Trusts can be arranged in many ways with specific directions as to how and when assets will be passed to your beneficiaries.
- In estate planning, trusts are often used to ensure that your loved ones are provided for exactly the way you wish. Trusts can hold assets in a specific legal standing to avoid estate taxes or other penalties.
- When a trust agreement is set up, the arrangement takes into account the present needs, laws, and situation.
- A trust is a document that needs to be updated as time passes. For several reasons, it can be crucial that you update your trust so that it is not stale, leaving you and your loved ones vulnerable to complications.
Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons to update your trusts…
Your Children Have Grown Up & They’re Now Adults
If you planned to use a trust to provide for your children when they were minors, and they are now grown, you likely want to shift your trust terms. As needs arise, trust money can be re-allocated to attend to different circumstances. What once was money set aside for college can now be set aside for a house, investment, retirement, or the needs of your grandchildren.
Laws Have Changed Regarding Taxes or Trusts & Administration
Trusts are subject to federal and state laws that govern how assets can be taxed and administered. As laws change, you want to hire a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who will help you keep your trusts current. Look for someone who keeps up-to-date on the new laws and rules.
Changes in Your Assets & Finances
Whether your assets and finances increase or decrease, any changes are a major reason to update your trusts. A career change, inheritance, investment, or purchase or sale of property can all alter your assets and finances. These changes might affect your tax status and the extent to which your assets will or will not be subject to estate tax. It’s crucial that you find a trusted tax and estate planning attorney who will advise you and advocate for your needs and those of your beneficiaries.
Marriage & Divorce
Changes in your marital status are a major reason to update your trust. Remarrying and replacing a former spouse may alter the executor of your trust. Providing for children from past marriages and making arrangements for children in the current marriage are also strong reasons to update your trust.
Life’s Changes Require a Trusted and Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
If your life plans are altered by situations in and out of your control, you need to turn to an experienced estate planning attorney. Get in touch with Mendes Weed, LLP today!
Mendes Weed offers a unique combined focus on Trusts & Estates, Tax Law, Tax Litigation, and Business Law. Principal Attorney Christina Weed is Chair of the Tax Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and is also a member of the Estate Planning Council Diablo Valley and the Tri-Valley Estate Planning Council.