Wills & Trusts Attorney in Los Angeles

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Estate planning is a complex thing. Setting up one’s current assets and properties in a way that benefits people you care about can be complex and there are numerous laws and tax regulations that govern the transfer of assets of all sizes. Two common ways of ensuring continuity of the grantor’s wishes are trusts and wills. There are several types of trusts and related legal documents that you can use in order to ensure that someone’s wishes are maintained in terms of medical care, assets and more.

Purpose of Wills and Trusts

A lawyer for wills and trusts understands that each document has its own benefits and restrictions. Considering them, along with powers of attorney, planning for Medicaid, helps ensure that a principal’s assets are used the way that they want them to during their lifetime and after. While nothing is perfect, these documents can minimize potential future strife between family members and interested persons by setting up guidance for what the person originally wanted.

Rather than thinking about end-of-life, putting these together allows a Los Angeles living trust attorney to create a road map for an entire family. In fact, a combination of wills, Medicaid planning, trusts and other vehicles may help reduce future emotional stress during traumatic times by ensuring that next steps regarding medical and financial decisions are already set up.

Types of Wills and Trusts

The most common documents that people look at are ones that, at first, seem relatively simple to complete. Advanced directives, which are commonly described as living wills, establish the level of care the patient wants during significant illness or disability as well as who is to be consulted during those events. This kind of document can be established very early in someone’s life.

A will goes a step further. It identifies guardians for minor children if the need arises, an executor who is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person when they pass on as well as what items, if any, should be specifically divided among certain parties. Establishing the primacy of a will, which must be witnessed, can sometimes become an issue resolved in probate court.

To avoid this, some people also set up either irrevocable or revocable trusts. A revocable trust is set up and administered by the principal during his or her lifetime and outlines existing assets and how they should be transferred to loved ones, charitable organizations or other parties that will receive future distributions from those properties or instruments.

Irrevocable trusts are similar to wills in that a single party is responsible for handling the affairs of the instruments therein, and they are not the guarantor. This allows for management of family businesses, stocks or properties while an older client may be suffering from dementia or simply not want to worry about day-to-day affairs. In either case, they can become complex very quickly and requires finding someone of utmost integrity in order to carry out the person’s wishes.

Why Hire Will and Trust Attorneys?

There are complexities in regulations and legal requirements to ensure that the people and causes important to you are able to receive the assets you want them to with minimal hassle and tax implications.

Working with a living trust lawyer in Los Angeles can minimize risks and issues in probate court. Not only do you have a second pair of eyes on all documents to ensure they meet state and local guidelines, but also guidance on any potential issues.

Results-Focused Representation

Attorneys at Stone & Sallus were able to successfully remove a successor co-trustee who egregiously misappropriated assets from his family’s trust, and deliberately withheld information from his siblings, the other successor co-trustees and beneficiaries. After coercing his mother to obtain a $750,000 construction loan to rebuild their family home, the removed trustee stopped construction after his mother passed away and kept the remaining funds, causing the trust to incur monthly penalties from the HOA for failure to complete the construction. The HOA then obtained a judgment against the trust for over $66,000 in penalties, and the trust faced foreclosure on multiple loans. Meanwhile, the removed trustee continued collecting rent from the trust’s multi-unit apartment complex, and used money from the trust accounts for his own personal gain.

We worked with our clients to reach a resolution and demanded an accounting to no avail from their sibling. Without any further recourse, we petitioned the probate court to remove our clients’ sibling as successor co-trustee, and the court quickly granted our petition. While efforts to repair the damage caused by our clients’ siblings are still ongoing, the parties are moving forward to resolve and distribute the trust assets, and move on with their lives.

Speak with Stone and Sallus

Work with a legal team that has decades of experience in LA County Superior Court. Contact Stone and Sallus for a confidential consultation today. We’re happy to discuss what options are available to you and make the most sense given your assets and goals.