What is a revocable living trust?

It is a legal entity which allows you to designate who will control your assets while you are alive and at death without the unnecessary intervention of unwanted third parties.


Does a will avoid probate?

NO.  A will neither avoids nor causes probate.


Doesn’t joint tenancy avoid probate?

YES and NO.  Joint tenancy merely postpones probate until the death of the surviving joint tenant.  In the event both joint tenants die simultaneously, probate occurs immediately.


Will my income tax status change with a revocable Living Trust?

NO, not if all the income of your Living Trust is payable to you or you and your spouse.


If I transfer my real property into a Living Trust, will my property taxes increase?

NO.  Living Trusts receive an exemption under Proposition 13 to prevent any increase in taxes on transfer of real property.


What if I own property in another state?

You should transfer out-of-state real property into your Living Trust to avoid the additional probate which would occur in that state.


Do I need a Living Trust if my estate doesn’t exceed $5,490,000?

YES.  Generally, you will need a Living Trust to avoid probate and conservatorship.


Do I have to give up control of my assets when I place them into a Living Trust?

NO.  You may name yourself as Trustee of your Living Trust and make all the management decisions concerning your assets.


What rights does the surviving spouse have in the Living Trust?

Normally, the surviving spouse is both the Trustee and Beneficiary of the Living Trust after the first spouse’s death.  The survivor thus continues to control and enjoy all of the assets of the trust.