Why do I Need a Trust?
If you have an estate valued at more than $150,000 when you die, your estate could be subject to probate. This might be a car, a house, proceeds from a retirement account, or any other assets that, when combined, are valued at more than $150,000. This means that your estate must retain an attorney and go to court in order to pass on your estate. To make matters worse, the attorney and administrator fees vary depending on the total value of your estate and all wills are open to public scrutiny.
A trust, however, is a cost efficient way to avoid the probate process and is completely private. In essence, you transfer all of your assets into a separate legal entity (the trust) so that there are no assets in your name for the state of California to probate. Your trustee then gathers all of your assets, pays your creditors, and distributes your assets to your heirs. Additionally, you have the ability to modify, or even terminate, your trust during your lifetime. This allows you to amend your trust, add or remove assets, or change your beneficiaries as you see fit.