California Trusts — Keep Yours Up to Date


In California, trust documents are important to keep up to date. When a will goes to probate court, it takes longer to administer than a trust and more of your estate will be spent on court fees, attorney fees and other costs. As part of your estate planning strategy, you should review your trust documents at least every two years to ensure your entire estate is accounted for.

Out-of-date plans are harder to administer and property not accounted for in a trust may go to probate court. If you’ve named beneficiaries, executors or guardians who have passed away, or if you have family members who aren’t addressed in the trust documents, they can increase the time and expense of administering the trust as well.

11 Reasons to Update Your California Trusts and Estate Plan

People’s lives and families are constantly changing, and it can be easy to forget to update your estate plan whenever changes occur in your estate or family situation. An annual review of your documents minimizes errors and confusion when you die or become incapacitated. When you and your estate planning lawyer review your documents, consider the following and make the appropriate changes to your California trusts and estate plan:

1. Add new property you’ve acquired
2. Remove property you no longer own
3. Add recently born/adopted family members as beneficiaries
4. Remove recently deceased family members named as beneficiaries
5. If recently married or divorce, make the appropriate changes regarding your spouse
6. Redistribute your estate among beneficiaries to better reflect what you want to happen with your estate
7. Name new guardians or executor if a person named to such a position is no longer able or willing to serve in that capacity
8. Remove guardians of children or grandchildren who are no longer minors and can manage their own financial affairs
9. If you’ve moved to another state, change your trust and estate plan to comply with the rules of that state
10. Make changes to take advantage of or comply with changes in probate and estate laws
11. If your situation has changed in any other way, such as entering a nursing home, make appropriate changes

When reviewing your California trusts and estate plan with your estate planning lawyer, discuss whether some portion of your estate would be better protected in an asset protection trust or LLC. Revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts and LLC’s can keep large portions of your estate out of probate court entirely because they are legal entities and follow different rules. Your estate planning attorney can explain California trusts and these other tools to you and explain how they can best be used to protect your assets and estate for your heirs.

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