Frequently Asked Questions About Trusts

Los Angeles Trust Attorney

Do you have questions about trusts, how they work, and whether or not a trust should be a part of your overall financial plan? Attorney David A. Shapiro enjoys helping people learn about and establish the long-term financial security that they and their families deserve. When looking for the right Los Angeles trust lawyer to advise you on how to proceed, you're going to want someone with exceptional skill and superior qualifications.

What is a revocable living trust?

A. A revocable living trust is a trust that you create during your lifetime. It is called a "revocable" living trust because you can revoke, amend or change such a trust at any point in time. A living trust can help you manage your assets and it can protect you if you become ill, or simply challenged by the symptoms of aging.

What is an irrevocable living trust?

A. An irrevocable living trust cannot be revoked or changed once it has been created. Such a trust is almost exclusively created to produce specific tax or asset protection results.

What can a trust do that a will cannot?

A. Similar to a will, a revocable living trust can provide for the distribution of your property upon your death. Unlike a will, a revocable living trust can allow you to manage your property while you're still alive and it can authorize a trustee to manage the trust property for the benefit of you and your family if you ever become incapacitated; therefore, you won't need to appoint a guardian for that purpose.

How do I choose a suitable trustee?

A. Great care should be taken when choosing a trustee to act on your behalf. Your trustee will have a great responsibility and considerable authority over the trust assets and property. You may decide to choose a spouse, an adult child, a domestic partner, another relative, a family friend, or a professional fiduciary to act as your trustee. You can also name more than one trustee.

Will I be required to file an income tax return for my living trust?

A. No, you will not be required to do so during your lifetime. The taxpayer identification number that is used for accounts held in the trust is your Social Security number; therefore, all income and deductions associated with the trust's assets are reportable on your individual income tax returns. Once you do pass away, the income taxation on the living trust is similar to probate.

What other types of trusts are there?

A. Testamentary trusts are another type of trust. Testamentary trusts are based on instructions in your will and are not effective until after the probate process. These types of trusts do not address the management of your assets during your life, but they can provide for young children and others who may need someone to manage their assets after your death.

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